Glossary

A1C: A blood test that measures a person’s average blood sugar over the previous 3 months.

Basal insulin: Insulin like Levemir® that lowers blood sugar throughout the day, between meals, and during sleep. It can last up to 24 hours.

Bolus insulin: Insulin that covers a quick rise in blood sugar, often related to a meal or snack.

Cholesterol: A fat-like substance that is found in the bloodstream. Cholesterol is used by the body to make hormones and build cell walls. However, too much cholesterol can cause a disease that harms blood circulation.

Endocrinologist: A health care provider who treats people who have endocrine gland problems such as diabetes.

Fast- or rapid-acting insulin: Insulin that starts working within 5 to 10 minutes and lasts up to 3 hours, depending on the type used.

Fasting blood glucose: The measurement of a person’s blood sugar when the person has not consumed carbohydrates in at least 8 hours.

Glucose: Also known as blood sugar, glucose is used by the body for fuel. Glucose is produced when the digestive system breaks down food.

Glucose tablets: Tablets made of pure sugar, used for treating low blood sugar.

GLP-1 receptor agonist: Glucagon-like peptide-1 is a medicine for type 2 diabetes that helps increase insulin secretion from the pancreas.

Hormone: A chemical made by the body to help it work in different ways. For example, insulin is a hormone made in the pancreas to help the body use glucose as energy.

Hyperglycemia: A condition that occurs when a person’s blood sugar levels are too high. Symptoms of hyperglycemia may include having to urinate often and being very thirsty.

Hypoglycemia: A condition that occurs when a person’s blood sugar is lower than usual, usually less than 70 mg/dL. Signs include hunger, nervousness, shakiness, sweating, light-headedness, and confusion. If left untreated, hypoglycemia may lead to unconsciousness. Hypoglycemia can be simply treated by consuming a carbohydrate-rich food such as a juice. If the person is unconscious or unable to swallow, it may also be treated with an injection of glucagon.

Long-acting insulin: A type of insulin such as Levemir® that lowers blood sugar throughout the day. Long-acting insulin covers blood sugar between meals and at nighttime. It can last up to 24 hours.

Lipodystrophy: Small dents or lumps on the skin caused by repeated insulin injections in the same area.

Pancreas: An organ in the body that produces insulin, a hormone that allows glucose to be used for energy.

Podiatrist: A health care provider who specializes in the feet. Podiatrists also provide regular foot examinations and treatment.

Postprandial blood glucose: The measurement of a person’s blood sugar level 1 to 2 hours after the person has eaten.

Sharps container: A container to store used needles. In the United States, standard sharps containers are red and made of hard plastic.

Type 1 diabetes: A disease characterized by high blood sugar levels caused by a lack of insulin. Occurs when the body’s immune system attacks the insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas and destroys them. The pancreas then produces little or no insulin, and therefore sugar cannot enter the cells to be used for energy. Type 1 diabetes develops most often in young people but can appear in adults.

Type 2 diabetes: A disease characterized by high blood sugar levels that occur when the body does not make enough insulin, and cells may not use naturally available insulin correctly. Type 2 diabetes develops most often in middle-aged and older adults.