A method for finding out
how much glucose (sugar) is in the blood. The test can
show if a person has diabetes. A blood sample is taken in
a lab or doctor's office. The test is usually done in the
morning before the person has eaten. The normal,
nondiabetic range for blood glucose is from 70 to 110
mg/dl, depending on the type of blood being tested. If the
level is 126 mg/dl or greater, it means the person has
diabetes (except for newborns and some pregnant women).
One of the three main
classes of foods and a source of energy in the body. Fats
help the body use some vitamins and keep the skin healthy.
They also serve as energy stores for the body. In food,
there are two types of fats: saturated and unsaturated.
Saturated fats are solid
at room temperature and come chiefly from animal food
products. Some examples are butter, lard, meat fat, solid
shortening, palm oil, and coconut oil. These fats tend to
raise the level of cholesterol, a fat-like substance in
Unsaturated fats, which
include monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats, are
liquid at room temperature and come from plant oils such
as olive, peanut, corn, cottonseed, sunflower, safflower,
and soybean. These fats tend to lower the level of
cholesterol in the blood. See also: Carbohydrate; protein.
A basic unit of fats.
When insulin levels are too low or there is not enough
glucose (sugar) to use for energy, the body burns fatty
acids for energy. The body then makes ketone bodies, waste
products that cause the acid level in the blood to become
too high. This in turn may lead to ketoacidosis, a serious
problem. See also: Diabetic ketoacidosis.
A substance found in
foods that come from plants. Fiber helps in the digestive
process and is thought to lower cholesterol and help
control blood glucose (sugar). The two types of fiber in
food are soluble and insoluble. Soluble fiber, found in
beans, fruits, and oat products, dissolves in water and is
thought to help lower blood fats and blood glucose
(sugar). Insoluble fiber, found in whole-grain products
and vegetables, passes directly through the digestive
system, helping to rid the body of waste products.
A method of taking a
picture of the flow of blood in the vessels of the eye by
tracing the progress of an injected dye.
See: Exchange lists.
Taking special steps to
avoid foot problems such as sores, cuts, bunions, and
calluses. Good care includes daily examination of the
feet, toes, and toenails and choosing shoes and socks or
stockings that fit well. People with diabetes have to take
special care of their feet because nerve damage and
reduced blood flow sometimes mean they will have less
feeling in their feet than normal. They may not notice
cuts and other problems as soon as they should.
Urine that a person
collects for a certain period of time during 24 hours;
usually from breakfast to lunch, from lunch to supper,
from supper to bedtime, and from bedtime to rising. Also
called "block urine."
A type of sugar found in
many fruits and vegetables and in honey. Fructose is used
to sweeten some diet foods. It is considered a nutritive
sweetener because it has calories.
Fundus of the Eye
The back or deep part of
the eye, including the retina.
A test to look at the
back area of the eye to see if there is any damage to the
vessels that bring blood to the retina. The doctor uses a
device called an ophthalmoscope to check the eye.
A type of sugar found in
milk products and sugar beets. It is also made by the
body. It is considered a nutritive sweetener because it
The death of body tissue.
It is most often caused by a loss of blood flow,
especially in the legs and feet.
A form of nerve damage
that affects the stomach. Food is not digested properly
and does not move through the stomach in a normal way,
resulting in vomiting, nausea, or bloating and interfering
with diabetes management. See also: Autonomic neuropathy.
A basic unit of heredity.
Genes are made of DNA, a substance that tells cells what
to do and when to do it. The information in the genes is
passed from parent to child-for example, a gene might tell
some cells to make the hair red or the eyes brown.
Relating to genes. See
also: Gene; heredity.
The length of pregnancy.
Diabetes Mellitus (GDM)
A type of diabetes
mellitus that can occur when a woman is pregnant. In the
second half of the pregnancy, the woman may have glucose
(sugar) in the blood at a higher than normal level.
However, when the pregnancy ends, the blood glucose levels
return to normal in about 95 percent of all cases.
An inflammation of the
gums that if left untreated may lead to periodontal
disease, a serious gum disorder. Signs of gingivitis are
inflamed and bleeding gums. See also: Periodontal disease.
A group of special cells
that make substances so that other parts of the body can
work. For example, the pancreas is a gland that releases
insulin so that other body cells can use glucose (sugar)
for energy. See also: Endocrine glands.
An eye disease associated
with increased pressure within the eye. Glaucoma can
damage the optic nerve and cause impaired vision and
Measure of the kidneys'
ability to filter and remove waste products.
Network of tiny blood
vessels in the kidneys where the blood is filtered and
waste products are removed.
A hormone that raises the
level of glucose (sugar) in the blood. The alpha cells of
the pancreas (in areas called the islets of Langerhans)
make glucagon when the body needs to put more sugar into
An injectable form of
glucagon, which can be bought in a drug store, is
sometimes used to treat insulin shock. The glucagon is
injected and quickly raises blood glucose levels. See
also: Alpha cell.
A simple sugar found in
the blood. It is the body's main source of energy; also
known as dextrose. See also: Blood glucose.
A test to see if a person
has diabetes. The test is given in a lab or doctor's
office in the morning before the person has eaten. A first
sample of blood is taken from the person. Then the person
drinks a liquid that has glucose (sugar) in it. After one
hour, a second blood sample is drawn, and, after another
hour, a third sample is taken. The object is to see how
well the body deals with the glucose in the blood over
The effect of different
foods on blood glucose (sugar) levels over a period of
time. Researchers have discovered that some kinds of foods
may raise blood glucose levels more quickly than other
foods containing the same amount of carbohydrates.
A substance made up of
sugars. It is stored in the liver and muscles and releases
glucose (sugar) into the blood when needed by cells.
Glycogen is the chief source of stored fuel in the body.
The process by which
glycogen is formed from glucose. See also: Glycogen.
Having glucose (sugar) in
A blood test that
measures a person's average blood glucose (sugar) level
for the 2- to 3-month period before the test. See:
A unit of weight in the
metric system. There are 28 grams in 1 ounce. In some diet
plans for people with diabetes, the suggested amounts of
food are given in grams.
See: Bronze diabetes.
A mechanical method of
cleaning the blood for people who have kidney disease. See
The substance of red
blood cells that carries oxygen to the cells and sometimes
joins with glucose (sugar). Because the glucose stays
attached for the life of the cell (about 4 months), a test
to measure hemoglobin A1C shows what the person's average
blood glucose level was for that period of time.
The passing of a trait
such as color of the eyes from parent to child. A person
"inherits" these traits through the genes.
When the blood flows
through the vessels at a greater than normal force. High
blood pressure strains the heart; harms the arteries; and
increases the risk of heart attack, stroke, and kidney
problems. Also called hypertension.
A skin reaction that
results in slightly elevated patches that are redder or
paler than the surrounding skin and often are accompanied
Proteins on the outer
part of the cell that help the body fight illness. These
proteins vary from person to person. Scientists think that
people with certain types of HLA antigens are more likely
to develop insulin-dependent diabetes.
A way a person can test
how much glucose (sugar) is in the blood. Also called
self-monitoring of blood glucose. See also: Blood glucose
When the body is working
as it should because all of its systems are in balance.
A chemical released by
special cells to tell other cells what to do. For
instance, insulin is a hormone made by the beta cells in
the pancreas. When released, insulin tells other cells to
use glucose (sugar) for energy.
Man-made insulins that
are similar to insulin produced by your own body. Human
insulin has been available since October 1982.
Too high a level of
glucose (sugar) in the blood; a sign that diabetes is out
of control. Many things can cause hyperglycemia. It occurs
when the body does not have enough insulin or cannot use
the insulin it does have to turn glucose into energy.
Signs of hyperglycemia are a great thirst, a dry mouth,
and a need to urinate often. For people with
insulin-dependent diabetes, hyperglycemia may lead to
Too high a level of
insulin in the blood. This term most often refers to a
condition in which the body produces too much insulin.
Researchers believe that this condition may play a role in
the development of noninsulin-dependent diabetes and in
hypertension. See also: Syndrome X.
Too high a level of fats
(lipids) in the blood. See also: Syndrome X.
A coma (loss of
consciousness) related to high levels of glucose (sugar)
in the blood and requiring emergency treatment. A person
with this condition is usually older and weak from loss of
body fluids and weight. The person may or may not have a
previous history of diabetes. Ketones (acids) are not
present in the urine.
Blood pressure that is
above the normal range. See also: High blood pressure.
Too low a level of
glucose (sugar) in the blood. This occurs when a person
with diabetes has injected too much insulin, eaten too
little food, or has exercised without extra food. A person
with hypoglycemia may feel nervous, shaky, weak, or
sweaty, and have a headache, blurred vision, and hunger.
Taking small amounts of sugar, sweet juice, or food with
sugar will usually help the person feel better within
10-15 minutes. See also: Insulin shock.
Low blood pressure or a
sudden drop in blood pressure. A person rising quickly
from a sitting or reclining position may have a sudden
fall in blood pressure, causing dizziness or fainting.
See: Impaired glucose
Drugs that block the
body's ability to fight infection or foreign substances
that enter the body. A person receiving a kidney or
pancreas transplant is given these drugs to stop the body
from rejecting the new organ or tissue. Cyclosporin is a
commonly used immunosuppressive drug.
Blood glucose (sugar)
levels higher than normal but not high enough to be called
diabetes. People with IGT may or may not develop diabetes.
Other names (no longer used) for IGT are
"chemical," or "latent" diabetes.
A small pump placed
inside of the body that delivers insulin in response to
commands from a hand-held device called a programmer.
The loss of a man's
ability to have an erect penis and to emit semen. Some men
may become impotent after having diabetes for a long time
because the nerves or blood vessels have become damaged.
Sometimes the problem has nothing to do with diabetes and
may be treated with counseling.
How often a disease
occurs; the number of new cases of a disease among a
certain group of people for a certain period of time.
Taking food, water, or
medicine into the body by mouth.
Putting liquid into the
body with a needle and syringe. A person with diabetes
injects insulin by putting the needle into the tissue
under the skin (called subcutaneous). Other ways of giving
medicine or nourishment by injection are to put the needle
into a vein (intravenous) or into a muscle (intramuscular).
Places on the body where
people can inject insulin most easily. These are:
These areas can vary with
the size of the person.
- The outer area of the
- Just above and below
the waist, except the area right around the navel (a
- The upper area of the
buttock, just behind the hip bone.
- The front of the
thigh, midway to the outer side, 4 inches below the
top of the thigh to 4 inches above the knee.
Changing the places on
the body where a person injects insulin. Changing the
injection site keeps lumps or small dents from forming in
the skin. These lumps or dents are called lipodystrophies.
However, people should try to use the same body area for
injections that are given at the same time each day-for
example, always using the stomach for the morning
injection or an arm for the evening injection. Using the
same body area for these routine injections lessens the
possibility of changes in the timing and action of
A hormone that helps the
body use glucose (sugar) for energy. The beta cells of the
pancreas (in areas called the islets of Langerhans) make
the insulin. When the body cannot make enough insulin on
its own, a person with diabetes must inject insulin made
from other sources, i.e., beef, pork, human insulin
(recombinant DNA origin), or human insulin (pork-derived,
When a person's body has
an allergic or bad reaction to taking insulin made from
pork or beef or from bacteria, or because the insulin is
not exactly the same as human insulin or because it has
The allergy can be of two
forms. Sometimes an area of skin becomes red and itchy
around the place where the insulin is injected. This is
called a local allergy.
In another form, a
person's whole body can have a bad reaction This is called
a systemic allergy. The person can have hives or red
patches all over the body or may feel changes in the heart
rate and in the rate of breathing. A doctor may treat this
allergy by prescribing purified insulins or by
desensitization. See also: Desensitization.
Something that opposes or
fights the action of insulin. Insulin lowers the level of
glucose (sugar) in the blood, whereas glucagon raises it;
therefore, glucagon is an antagonist of insulin.
When insulin attaches
itself to something else. This can occur in two ways.
First, when a cell needs energy, insulin can bind with the
outer part of the cell. The cell then can bring glucose
(sugar) inside and use it for energy. With the help of
insulin, the cell can do its work very well and very
quickly. But sometimes the body acts against itself. In
this second case, the insulin binds with the proteins that
are supposed to protect the body from outside substances
(antibodies). If the insulin is an injected form of
insulin and not made by the body, the body sees the
insulin as an outside or "foreign" substance.
When the injected insulin binds with the antibodies, it
does not work as well as when it binds directly to the
Diabetes Mellitus (IDDM)
A chronic condition in
which the pancreas makes little or no insulin because the
beta cells have been destroyed. The body is then not able
to use the glucose (blood sugar) for energy. IDDM usually
comes on abruptly, although the damage to the beta cells
may begin much earlier. The signs of IDDM are a great
thirst, hunger, a need to urinate often, and loss of
weight. To treat the disease, the person must inject
insulin, follow a diet plan, exercise daily, and test
blood glucose several times a day. IDDM usually occurs in
children and adults who are under age 30. This type of
diabetes used to be known as "juvenile
diabetes," "juvenile-onset diabetes," and
"ketosis-prone diabetes." It is also called type
I diabetes mellitus.
Small dents that form on
the skin when a person keeps injecting a needle in the
same spot. They are harmless. See also: Lipoatrophy;
injection site rotation.
Small lumps that form
under the skin when a person keeps injecting a needle in
the same spot. See also: Lipodystrophy; injection site
An insulin injection
device the size of a pen that includes a needle and holds
a vial of insulin. It can be used instead of syringes for
giving insulin injections.
A device that delivers a
continuous supply of insulin into the body. The insulin
flows from the pump through a plastic tube that is
connected to a needle inserted into the body and taped in
place. Insulin is delivered at two rates: a low, steady
rate (called the basal rate) for continuous day-long
coverage, and extra boosts of insulin (called bolus doses)
to cover meals or when extra insulin is needed. The pump
runs on batteries and can be worn clipped to a belt or
carried in a pocket. It is used by people with
Too low a level of
glucose (sugar) in the blood; also called hypoglycemia.
This occurs when a person with diabetes has injected too
much insulin, eaten too little food, or exercised without
extra food. The person may feel hungry, nauseated, weak,
nervous, shaky, confused, and sweaty. Taking small amounts
of sugar, sweet juice, or food with sugar will usually
help the person feel better within 10-15 minutes. See
also: Hypoglycemia; insulin shock.
Areas on the outer part
of a cell that allow the cell to join or bind with insulin
that is in the blood. When the cell and insulin bind
together, the cell can take glucose (sugar) from the blood
and use it for energy.
Many people with
noninsulin-dependent diabetes produce enough insulin, but
their bodies do not respond to the action of insulin. This
may happen because the person is overweight and has too
many fat cells, which do not respond well to insulin.
Also, as people age, their body cells lose some of the
ability to respond to insulin. Insulin resistance is also
linked to high blood pressure and high levels of fat in
the blood. Another kind of insulin resistance may happen
in some people who take insulin injections. They may have
to take very high doses of insulin every day (200 units or
more) to bring their blood glucose (sugar) down to the
normal range. This is also called "insulin
A severe condition that
occurs when the level of blood glucose (sugar) drops
quickly. The signs are shaking, sweating, dizziness,
double vision, convulsions, and collapse. Insulin shock
may occur when an insulin reaction is not treated quickly
enough. See also: Hypoglycemia; insulin reaction.
A tumor of the beta cells
in areas of the pancreas called the islets of Langerhans.
Although not usually cancerous, such tumors may cause the
body to make extra insulin and may lead to a blood glucose
(sugar) level that is too low.
Pain in the muscles of
the leg that occurs off and on, usually while walking or
exercising, and results in lameness (claudication). The
pain results from a narrowing of the blood vessels feeding
the muscle. Drugs are available to treat this condition.
A form of treatment for
insulin-dependent diabetes in which the main objective is
to keep blood glucose (sugar) levels as close to the
normal range as possible. The treatment consists of three
or more insulin injections a day or use of an insulin
pump; four or more blood glucose tests a day; adjustment
of insulin, food intake, and activity levels based on
blood glucose test results; dietary counseling; and
management by a diabetes team. See also: Diabetes Control
and Complications Trial; team management.
Putting a fluid into a
muscle with a needle and syringe.
Putting a fluid into a
vein with a needle and syringe.
Moving the beta (islet)
cells from a donor pancreas and putting them into a person
whose pancreas has stopped producing insulin. The beta
cells make the insulin that the body needs to use glucose
(sugar) for energy. Although transplanting islet cells may
one day help people with diabetes, the procedure is still
in the research stage.
Special groups of cells
in the pancreas. They make and secrete hormones that help
the body break down and use food. Named after Paul
Langerhans, the German scientist who discovered them in
1869, these cells sit in clusters in the pancreas. There
are five types of cells in an islet: beta cells, which
make insulin; alpha cells, which make glucagon; delta
cells, which make somatostaton; and PP cells and D1 cells,
about which little is known.
A device that uses high
pressure to propel insulin through the skin and into the
Former term for
insulin-dependent or type I diabetes. See:
Insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus.