Glossary

Important Definitions to Know if You Have Diabetes

A1c

A blood test used to diagnose type 1 and type 2 diabetes and to later determine how well you're managing your diabetes. It measures your average blood glucose control for the past two to three months. The higher the A1c level, the higher your risk of diabetes complications.

Amputation

An operation where a doctor cuts off a body part because of a very bad injury or infection.

ACE Inhibitor

A type of drug used to lower blood pressure. Studies indicate that it may also help prevent or slow the progression of kidney disease in people with diabetes. ACE is an stand for angiotensin-converting enzyme.

Artery

A tube in the body that carries blood from the heart to the body.

Blood Glucose level

The amount of glucose in the blood. It is the main type of sugar in the blood and the major source of energy for the body's cells and is generally made from the food we eat. Our bodies cannot use glucose without insulin.

Blood Pressure

The pressure of the blood within the arteries. It is produced primarily by the contraction of the heart muscle. Two levels of blood pressure are measured: the highest, or systolic, occurs when the heart pumps blood into the blood vessels, and the lowest, or diastolic, occurs when the heart rests.

Capillaries

Small blood vessels.

Carbohydrates

One of three main groups of foods in the diet that provide calories and energy (Protein and fat are the others). Carbohydrates are mainly sugars (simple carbohydrates and starches (complex carbohydrates, found in bread, pasta, beans) that the body breaks down into glucose.

Cholesterol

Something similar to fat that is found in the blood, muscles, liver, brain and other body tissues. The body produces and needs some cholesterol. However, too much can cholesterol make fats stick to the walls in our arteries and can cause a diseases that decreases blood flow or stop blood flowing to the rest of the body.

Complications

Any disease or disorder that happens because of another disease.

Diabetes

A disease that keeps your body from making or using insulin, a hormone that helps turn food into energy. When you have diabetes, the process of turning food into energy doesn't work well, and causes sugar to build up in your blood. That sugar build-up can cause problems with your heart, kidney, eyes and feet.

Diabetic Foot Disease

A disease or infections that can develop in the skin, muscles, or bones of the foot as a result of the nerve damage and poor circulation that is associated with diabetes. It is developed from a combination of causes including poor circulation and neuropathy.

Diabetic Kidney Disease

Damage to the cells or blood vessels of the kidney. This causes you to urinate more than 300 mg in a 24-hour collection. See Nephropathy.

Diagnosis

To identify as having a disease or condition as a result of signs or symptoms.

Dilated Eye Exam

The process of administering special eye drops into the eyes in order to enlarge the pupils. The test is designed to evaluate your vision and check for eye diseases. Your doctor may use odd-looking instruments, aim bright lights directly at your eyes and request that you look through a seemingly endless array of lenses.

Dialysis

A method for removing waste from the blood when the kidneys can no longer do their job.

Diastolic

This is the time when the heart is in a period of relaxation and expansion. Diastolic pressure is the minimum arterial pressure during relaxation and dilation of the ventricles of the heart when the ventricles are filled with blood.

Gestational diabetes

A type of diabetes that can occur in pregnant women who did not have diabetes before.

Glucose

A type of sugar that comes from the foods we eat, also formed and stored inside the body. It is the major source of energy needed to make the body move and it helps the body do many things.

HDL (High-Density Lipoprotein)

A combined protein and fatlike substance. Low in cholesterol, it usually passes freely through the arteries. Sometimes called "good cholesterol". A high HDL cholesterol helps fight heart disease.

Healthcare Effectiveness Data and Information Set (HEDIS)

A widely used set of performance measures in the managed care industry developed and maintained by the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA). For patients with diabetes and other conditions, these performance measures and guidelines help ensure that doctors are providing quality care.

Heart attack

Damage to the heart muscles caused when the blood vessels supplying the muscles are blocked with fat.

Hemoglobin

A protein in red blood cells that carry oxygen.

High blood glucose

It is an increase of blood sugar level in the blood. It is also known as hyperglycemia. It causes you to urinate often, get very thirsty or lose weight.

High blood pressure

It is a repeated increase in blood pressure exceeding 130 over 80 mmHg. This make the heart tired, harms the arteries, and increase the risk of heart attack, stroke, and kidney problems.

Hormones

Chemical substances that act like messenger molecules in the body. After being made in one part of the body, they travel to other parts of the body where they help control how cells and organs do their work.

Hyperglycemic

Also known as high blood glucose.

Hypertension

Also known as high blood pressure.

Hypoglycemia

Also known as low blood glucose

Hypotension

Also known as low blood pressure

Insulin

Insulin is a hormone that converts sugar, starches and other food into energy needed for every day activity. Insulin helps glucose enter the body's cells.

Juvenile diabetes

Type 1 diabetes in children and young adults

Ketoacidosis

When the body has a lower insulin level than normal, causing high blood sugar and bringing other acids in the blood together.

Kidneys

Twin organs that clean the blood of all waste and harmful material and control the level of chemicals in the blood.

LDL (Low-Density Lipoprotein)

A combined protein and fatlike substance. Rich in cholesterol, it tends to stick to the walls in the arteries. Sometimes called "bad cholesterol."

Low Blood Glucose

A condition that occurs in people with diabetes when their blood glucose levels are too low. Symptoms include feeling anxious or confused, feeling numb in the arms and hands and shaking or feeling dizzy.

Microalbumin

Small amounts of protein in the urine that are often the early warning sign of diabetes.

Neuropathy

Nerve damage. Also known as diabetic foot disease. Diabetic Neuropathy can cause insensitivity or a loss of ability to feel pain, heat, and cold. Diabetics suffering from neuropathy can develop minor cuts, scrapes, blisters, or pressure sores that they may not be aware of due to the insensitivity. A person with diabetic nephropathy has damage to the kidneys caused by long-standing diabetes. Diabetes damages the blood vessels in the kidneys. Eventually, the kidneys are unable to filter waste from the bloodstream, and unable to remove excess fluid from the body.

Nephropathy

Kidney damage. Also known as diabetic kidney disease. Diabetic nephropathy leads to kidney failure, end-stage renal disease, and the need for chronic dialysis or a kidney transplant.

Non-Insulin-Independent

Type 2 diabetes.

Pancreas

The pancreas is a long, flat gland that lies in the abdomen behind the stomach. It produces enzymes that are released into the small intestine to help with digestion. It also produces hormones such as insulin which help control the level of glucose (a type of sugar) in the blood.

Parent

Birth mother or father.

Performance Measure

The process of evaluating progress towards goals that was set.

Pre-Diabetes

When the blood sugar level is higher than normal, but not enough to be called type 2 diabetes.

Retina

A part of the eye that is sensitive to light.

Retinopathy

A disease that causes inflammation of the retina. Also known as diabetic eye disease. Diabetes can affect sight by causing cataracts, glaucoma, and most importantly, damage to blood vessels inside the eye. It is a complication of diabetes that is caused by changes in the blood vessels of the retina. This can blur or distort the vision images that the retina sends to the brain.

Stroke

Damage to a part of the brain that happens when the blood vessel supplying blood to the brain is blocked.

Symptoms

The way an illness or medical problem makes someone feel. Symptoms often serve as a sign for illness based on the way they make the body react. For example, an achy ear and a fever are signs to a possible ear infection.

Type 1 Diabetes

This happens when the pancreas loses its ability to make the hormone insulin. In type 1 diabetes, the person's own immune system attacks and destroys the cells in the pancreas that produce insulin. Once those cells are destroyed, they won't ever make insulin again.

Type 2 Diabetes

This happens when the body cannot respond to insulin well. Unlike people with type 1 diabetes, most people with type 2 diabetes can still produce insulin, but not enough to meet their body's needs.

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