Frequently Used Terms

ADRENALINis a hormone released by the body in reaction to stress. It prepares the body for 'flight or fight.'ADULT-ONSET DIABETES is the former term for non-insulin dependent, or type 2 diabetes. This term is no longer in use because, although type 2 diabetes usually occurs after 40 years of age, it may develop at younger ages..

ALPHA CELLS are found in the Islets of Langerhans within your pancreas. They are responsible for producing glucagon, a hormone which causes an increase in the blood sugar level.

AMPUTATION is the surgical removal of a limb or part of a limb. People with diabetes may be at increased risk for gangrene due to nerve damage in the legs and feet, which may require amputation.

ANIMAL INSULIN is the original form of insulin derived from the pancreas of cows and pigs.

ANTIBODIES are proteins that the body produces to fight off foreign substances such as bacteria, viruses and transplanted organs.

ANTIOXIDANTS are chemicals that are added to foods containing fat to prevent oxygen from combining with the fatty molecules. Oxidation would cause the fatty food to become rancid.

ARTERIOSCLEROSIS is the hardening and narrowing of the arteries. This condition often occurs with aging, in hypertension and diabetes.

AUTOIMMUNE DISEASE is a disorder in which a person's own antibodies destroy body tissues, such as the beta cells in the pancreas.

BEEF INSULIN was a form of insulin derived from the pancreas of cows and is no longer readily available.

BETA CELLS are found in the Islets of Langerhans in the pancreas. Their function is to produce insulin.

BLOOD PRESSURE refers to the pressure exerted by blood flow on artery walls. People with diabetes should aim for a bllod pressure of 130 / 80 or lower. High blood pressure (hypertension) can cause health problems such as heart attacks, strokes and kidney problems.

BODY MASS INDEX (BMI) is a unit of measurement to describe weight in relation to height for people 20 to 65 years of age (kg /m2) Classifications include-Underweight (<18.5), Normal Weight (18.5 - 24.9), Overweight (25 - 29.9),Obese(>30).For Indian BMI of23 is the upper limit and over weight is 23.1to 28.

BUNION is a bulge on the first joint of the big toe caused by swelling under the skin as a result of chronic irritation and pressure from poorly fitting shoes.

CALLUS is a common, usually painless, thickening of the skin on the feet or hands, at points of external pressure or friction.

CALORIE is a measurement of the energy provided by food. The sources of calories in a diet are carbohydrate, protein, alcohol and fat.

CAPILLARY is the smallest blood vessel. Capillary walls are so thin that oxygen and glucose can pass through them and enter the cells. Waste products, such as carbon dioxide, pass back into the bloodstream via the capillaries to be carried away and expelled from the body.

CARBOHYDRATE one of the major sources of calories in the diet. It comes primarily from sugar (found in refined fruits and vegetables) and starch (found in grains and legumes). Carbohydrate breaks down into glucose during digestion and raises blood glucose levels.

CATARACTS are a grey-white film that can cover the lens of the eye, obscuring vision. They tend to occur in people over 50 years of age, but can occur at a younger age and advance more rapidly in the presence of diabetes. If left untreated, cataracts can cause blindness.

CHIROPODIST is a health professional who diagnoses and treats disorders of the feet.

CHOLESTEROL is a type of fat which occurs naturally in our bodies and is also found in animal fats. Too much saturated fat and dietary cholesterol may be associated with arteriosclerosis.

CHRONIC refers to a disease or disorder that is present over long periods of time often the remainder of a lifetime of an individual.

COMA is a state of unconsciousness. In diabetes, it may result from a variety of causes including severe Hypoglycemia or severe ketoacidosis.

C-PEPTIDE is formed in the beta cells of the pancreas therefore a test of C-peptide levels indicates the amount of beta cell function occurring in the pancreas.

CREATININE is a compound present in the muscles and blood that is passed in the urine. A 'creatinine clearance test' is a diagnostic test for kidney function.

DEHYDRATION is a state in which there is excessive loss of water from body tissues. It can occur when the blood sugar levels are high for long periods of time. It can also result from inadequate water intake, or excessive sweating, vomiting or diarrhea. Symptoms of dehydration can include extreme thirst, irritability, confusion and flushed, dry skin.

DIABETIC RETINOPATHY is a disease in which the small blood Vessels (capillaries) in the back of the eye (retina) may bleed or form new Vessels. This condition usually occurs in people with long-standing diabetes. Regular eye examinations are an important part of diabetes management.

DIABETES is a condition in which the body either cannot produce insulin or cannot effectively use the insulin it produces. (see Gestational Diabetes, type 1 Diabetes, type 2 Diabetes)

DIABETES CONTROL AND COMPLICATIONS TRIAL (DCCT) was a nine year study during the 1990s designed to test whether persistently high blood sugar levels are related to the development of complications in people with type 1 diabetes. The results demonstrated that intensive treatment of individuals with type 1 diabetes can delay the onset and progression of long-term complications in people.

DIABETLOIGIST Doctor who specializes in treatment of Diabetes and all its Complications.

DIALYSIS is a method of removing waste products and excess water from the body when the kidneys no longer function adequately.

DIETITIAN is an expert in nutrition who can assist people plan the kinds and amounts of foods that promote a healthy lifestyle.

EDEMA is the swelling or puffiness caused by fluid collecting in the tissues.

ENDOCRINOLOGIST is a medical doctor who specializes in treating people who have problems related to their endocrine system, which includes diabetes.

EPIDEMIOLOGY is the study of the occurrence, distribution and causes of diseases in mankind.

FAMILIAL OCCURRENCE refers to the pattern of a disease within a family. Family and twin studies have shown that type 2 diabetes is far more likely to run in families than type 1 diabetes.

FAT is the most concentrated source of calories in a diet. Saturated fats are found primarily in animal products and unsaturated fats come from plants. Excess intake of fat, especially saturated fat, can increase the risk of heart disease and stroke.

FIBRE is a type of material within foods mainly found in vegetables, fruits and cereals that adds bulk to the diet aiding digestion.

GANGRENE is the death of body tissues usually due to loss of blood supply to the affected area, followed by bacterial invasion.

GESTATIONAL DIABETES develops during pregnancy due to a deficiency of insulin during pregnancy that disappears following delivery. Women who have had gestational diabetes are at a high risk of developing type 2 diabetes later in life.

GLUCAGON is a hormone produced by the pancreas that stimulates the liver to produce large amounts of glucose. It is given by injection for Hypoglycemia & SMBG and generally restores blood sugar within five to ten minutes.

GLUCOSE is a simple form of sugar that acts as fuel for the body. It is produced during digestion of carbohydrate and carried to the cells in the blood.

GLYCOGEN is the main carbohydrate storage material, which is stored in the liver and muscles for use when energy is required.

GLYCOSURIA refers to an increased amount of sugar in the urine. It is usually an indication of an elevated blood glucose level.

GLYCOSYLATED HEMOGLOBIN (A1C) is a measure of your average blood glucose level over the past 2 - 3 months.

HONEYMOON PERIOD is the period of time after the diagnosis of type 1 diabetes when the dose of insulin may need to be reduced due to remaining or recovered insulin secretion from the pancreas. This period can last weeks, months or years.

HORMONES are the substances released into the bloodstream from a gland or organ. Hormones control growth and development, reproduction, sexual characteristics, blood sugar levels and influence the way the body uses and stores energy.

HUMAN INSULIN is a bio-synthetic insulin created in the 1990s using recombinant-DNA technology.

HYPERGLYCEMIA (also HYPERGLYCAEMIA) is a condition caused by greater than normal levels of glucose in the blood. Symptoms include thirst, frequent urintation and fatigue.

HYPERLIPOPROTEINEMIA is the presence in the blood of greater than normal amounts of certain lipids and other fatty substances in the blood.

HYPERTENSION is the medical term for high blood pressure.

HYPOGLYCAEMIA (also HYPOGLYCAEMIA) is a condition in which blood glucose levels drop too low. Symptoms may include sweating, trembling, hunger, dizziness, moodiness, confusion blurred vision and hunger.

IMPOTENCE is a form of sexual dysfunction in which a man is unable to obtain an erection.

INSULIN is a hormone produced by the beta cells of the pancreas in response to increased levels of glucose in the blood.

INSULIN LIPODYSTROPHY is the loss of fatty tissue that can occur as a result of repeated insulin injections in the same area.

INSULIN PUMP is a portable, battery-operated device that delivers a specific amount of insulin through a small needle inserted under the skin. It can be programmed to deliver constant doses throughout the day and / or deliver extra insulin as required throughout the day.

INSULIN RECEPTORS are areas on the outer walls of a cell that permit insulin to bind to the cell. When cells and insulin bind together, the cell is able to take glucose from the bloodstream and use it for energy.

INSULIN SHOCK is another term used for Hypoglycemia & SMBG or low blood sugar (see Hypoglycemia )

ISCHEMIA is an inadequate supply of blood to body tissues or organs. It can occur if blood Vessels are narrowed or constricted.

ISLETS OF LANGERHANS are clusters of cells in the pancreas that produce insulin, glucagons and pancreatic polypeptide.

JUVENILE-ONSET DIABETES is the former term for insulin-dependent, or type 1 diabetes.

KETONES are chemicals produced by the liver when the body cannot use glucose and must break down fat for energy. Ketones can poison and even kill body cells. When ketones build up, the body gets rid of them in the urine. Ketones that accumulate in the body over long periods of time can lead to serious illness and coma.

KETOACIDOSIS is a severe complication of diabetes that is the result of high blood sugar levels and ketones often associated with poor control of diabetes or as a complication due to other illnesses.

LASER TREATMENTS are a recognized treatment for retinopathy that involves a source of intense radiation that targets damaged areas of the retina.

mg/dL is the abbreviated form of milligrams per decilitre, a term used to describe how much glucose is present in a specific amount of blood. To convert mg/dl readings to the mmol/L, divide by 18.

MORBIDITY RATE is the number of cases of a particular disease occurring in a single year often expressed as 'x cases per 1000'.

MORTALITY RATE is the rate of people who die from a specific illness in relation to the total population. Mortality rates are usually expressed as the number of deaths per 1,000, 10,000 or 100,000 persons.

NEPHROLOGIST is a medical doctor who specializes in the care and treatment of people with kidney diseases.

NEPHROPATHY is any disease of the kidneys.

NEUROPATHY is inflammation or degeneration of the peripheral nerves.

OBESITY is an abnormal increase in the proportion of fat cells. Obesity may be accompanied by other signs of poor health and is a risk factor for type 2 diabetes.

OPHTHALMOLOGIST is a medical doctor who specializes in treatment and care of the eyes.

ORAL AGENTS are medications, taken by mouth, for the treatment of type 2 diabetes.

ORAL GLUCOSE TOLERANCE TEST (OGTT) is a test of the body's ability to metabolize carbohydrate. It is performed by giving a standard dose of glucose and measuring the blood and urine for glucose at regular intervals.

PANCREAS A fish-shaped grayish-pink nodular gland that stretches transversely across the posterior abdominal wall in the epigastric region that secretes various substances such as digestive fluid, insulin and glucagons. It is divided into a head, a body, and a tail, and is about 13cm long in adults.

PEDIATRICIAN (also PEDIATRIST) is a medical doctor who specializes in the care and treatment of children.

PODIATRIST is a health professional who diagnoses and treats disorders of the feet.

PORK INSULIN - is a form of insulin available in Canada that is derived from the pancreas of pigs

POST-PRANDIAL means 'after mealtime'.

PROTEIN is one of the major sources of calories in a diet. Found in meats, eggs, milk and some vegetables and starches, protein provides the body with material for building blood cells, hormones and body tissue.

SUGAR is a simple form of carbohydrate that provides calories and raises blood glucose levels.

TYPE 1 DIABETES (or insulin-dependent diabetes) occurs when the pancreas no longer produces any or very little insulin. The body needs insulin to use sugar as an energy source. Type 1 diabetes usually develops in childhood or adolescence and affects 10% of people with diabetes.

TYPE 2 DIABETES (or non-insulin-dependent diabetes) occurs when the pancreas does not produce enough insulin to meet the body's needs or the insulin is not metabolized effectively. Type 2 usually occurs later in life and affects 90% of people with diabetes.

ULCER is a crater-like lesion of the skin or mucous membrane often as a result of inflammatory process.

URINE TESTS measure substances, such as blood glucose or ketones, present in the urine.

VASCULAR DISEASE is a disease of the blood Vessels.

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