Common Terms: L-R

Below is a list of diabetes-related terms and their definitions. Use the letter groupings to jump to words beginning with those letters.
Adapted from NIDDK.

A-E | F-K | L-R | S-Z

lancet
a spring-loaded device used to prick the skin with a small needle to obtain a drop of blood for blood glucose monitoring.

laser surgery treatment
a type of therapy that uses a strong beam of light to treat a damaged area. The beam of light is called a laser. A laser is sometimes used to seal blood vessels in the eye of a person with diabetes. See photocoagulation.

latent autoimmune diabetes in adults (LADA)
a condition in which Type 1 diabetes develops in adults.

LDL cholesterol, stands for low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (kuh-LESS-tuh-rawl LIP-oh-PRO-teen)
a fat found in the blood that takes cholesterol around the body to where it is needed for cell repair and also deposits it on the inside of artery walls. Sometimes called "bad" cholesterol.

lente insulin (LEN-tay)
an intermediate-acting insulin. On average, lente insulin starts to lower blood glucose levels within 1 to 2 hours after injection. It has its strongest effect 8 to 12 hours after injection but keeps working for 18 to 24 hours after injection. Also called L insulin.

limited joint mobility
a condition in which the joints swell and the skin of the hand becomes thick, tight, and waxy, making the joints less able to move. It may affect the fingers and arms as well as other joints in the body.

lipid (LIP-id)
a term for fat in the body. Lipids can be broken down by the body and used for energy.

lipid profile
a blood test that measures total cholesterol, triglycerides, and HDL cholesterol. LDL cholesterol is then calculated from the results. A lipid profile is one measure of a person's risk of cardiovascular disease.

lipoatrophy (LIP-oh-AT-ruh-fee)
loss of fat under the skin resulting in small dents. Lipoatrophy may be caused by repeated injections of insulin in the same spot.

lipodystrophy (LIP-oh-DIH-struh-fee)
defect in the breaking down or building up of fat below the surface of the skin, resulting in lumps or small dents in the skin surface. (See lipohypertrophy or lipoatrophy.) Lipodystrophy may be caused by repeated injections of insulin in the same spot.

lipohypertrophy (LIP-oh-hy-PER-truh-fee)
buildup of fat below the surface of the skin, causing lumps. Lipohypertrophy may be caused by repeated injections of insulin in the same spot.

lispro insulin (LYZ-proh)
a rapid-acting insulin. On average, lispro insulin starts to lower blood glucose within 5 minutes after injection. It has its strongest effect 30 minutes to 1 hour after injection but keeps working for 3 hours after injection.

liver
an organ in the body that changes food into energy, removes alcohol and poisons from the blood, and makes bile, a substance that breaks down fats and helps rid the body of wastes.

long-acting insulin
a type of insulin that starts to lower blood glucose within 4 to 6 hours after injection and has its strongest effect 10 to 18 hours after injection. See ultralente insulin.

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macrosomia (mack-roh-SOH-mee-ah)
abnormally large; in diabetes, refers to abnormally large babies that may be born to women with diabetes.

macrovascular disease (mack-roh-VASK-yoo-ler)
disease of the large blood vessels, such as those found in the heart. Lipids and blood clots build up in the large blood vessels and can cause atherosclerosis, coronary heart disease, stroke, and peripheral vascular disease.

macula (MACK-yoo-la)
the part of the retina in the eye used for reading and seeing fine detail.

macular edema (MACK-yoo-lur eh-DEE-mah)
swelling of the macula.

mastopathy, diabetic
a rare fibrous breast condition occurring in women, and sometimes men, with long-standing diabetes. The lumps are not malignant and can be surgically removed, although they often recur.

maturity-onset diabetes of the young (MODY)
a kind of Type 2 diabetes that accounts for 1 to 5 percent of people with diabetes. Of the six forms identified, each is caused by a defect in a single gene.

meglitinide (meh-GLIH-tin-ide)
a class of oral medicine for Type 2 diabetes that lowers blood glucose by helping the pancreas make more insulin right after meals. (Generic name: repaglinide)

metabolic syndrome
the tendency of several conditions to occur together, including obesity, insulin resistance, diabetes or pre-diabetes, hypertension, and high lipids.

metabolism
the term for the way cells chemically change food so that it can be used to store or use energy and make the proteins, fats, and sugars needed by the body.

metformin (met-FOR-min)
an oral medicine used to treat Type 2 diabetes. It lowers blood glucose by reducing the amount of glucose produced by the liver and helping the body respond better to the insulin made in the pancreas. Belongs to the class of medicines called biguanides. (Brand names: Glucophage, Glucophage XR; an ingredient in Glucovance)

mg/dL
milligrams (MILL-ih-grams) per deciliter (DESS-ih-lee-tur), a unit of measure that shows the concentration of a substance in a specific amount of fluid. In the United States, blood glucose test results are reported as mg/dL. Medical journals and other countries use millimoles per liter (mmol/L). To convert to mg/dL from mmol/L, multiply mmol/L by 18. Example: 10 mmol/L � 18 = 180 mg/dL.

microalbumin (MY-kro-al-BYOO-min)
small amounts of the protein called albumin in the urine detectable with a special lab test.

microalbuminuria (MY-kro-al-BYOO-min-your-EE-ah)
the presence of small amounts of albumin, a protein, in the urine. Microalbuminuria is an early sign of kidney damage, or nephropathy, a common and serious complication of diabetes. The ADA recommends that people diagnosed with type 2 diabetes be tested for microalbuminuria at the time they are diagnosed and every year thereafter; people with type 1 diabetes should be tested 5 years after diagnosis and every year thereafter. Microalbuminuria is usally managed by improving blood glucose control, reducing blood pressure, and modifying the diet.

microaneurysm (MY-kro-AN-yeh-rizm)
a small swelling that forms on the side of tiny blood vessels. These small swellings may break and allow blood to leak into nearby tissue. People with diabetes may get microaneurysms in the retina of the eye.

microvascular disease (MY-kro-VASK-yoo-ler)
disease of the smallest blood vessels, such as those found in the eyes, nerves, and kidneys. The walls of the vessels become abnormally thick but weak. Then they bleed, leak protein, and slow the flow of blood to the cells.

miglitol (MIG-lih-tall)
an oral medicine used to treat Type 2 diabetes. It blocks the enzymes that digest starches in food. The result is a slower and lower rise in blood glucose throughout the day, especially right after meals. Belongs to the class of medicines called alpha-glucosidase inhibitors. (Brand name: Glyset)

mixed dose
a combination of two types of insulin in one injection. Usually a rapid- or short-acting insulin is combined with a longer acting insulin (such as NPH insulin) to provide both short-term and long-term control of blood glucose levels.

mmol/L
millimoles per liter, a unit of measure that shows the concentration of a substance in a specific amount of fluid. In most of the world, except for the United States, blood glucose test results are reported as mmol/L. In the United States, milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) is used. To convert to mmol/L from mg/dL, divide mg/dL by 18. Example: 180 mg/dL × 18 = 10 mmol/L.

monofilament
a short piece of nylon, like a hairbrush bristle, mounted on a wand. To check sensitivity of the nerves in the foot, the doctor touches the filament to the bottom of the foot.

mononeuropathy (MAH-noh-ne-ROP-uh-thee)
neuropathy affecting a single nerve.

myocardial infarction (my-oh-KAR-dee-ul in-FARK-shun)
an interruption in the blood supply to the heart because of narrowed or blocked blood vessels. Also called a heart attack.

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nateglinide (neh-TEH-glin-ide)
an oral medicine used to treat Type 2 diabetes. It lowers blood glucose levels by helping the pancreas make more insulin right after meals. Belongs to the class of medicines called D-phenylalanine derivatives. (Brand name: Starlix)

necrobiosis lipoidica diabeticorum (NEK-roh-by-OH-sis lih-POY-dik-ah DY-uh-bet-ih-KOR-um)
a skin condition usually on the lower part of the legs. Lesions can be small or extend over a large area. They are usually raised, yellow, and waxy in appearance and often have a purple border.

neovascularization (NEE-oh-VASK-yoo-ler-ih-ZAY-shun)
the growth of new, small blood vessels. In the retina, this may lead to loss of vision or blindness.

nephrologist (neh-FRAH-luh-jist)
a doctor who treats people who have kidney problems.

nephropathy (neh-FROP-uh-thee)
disease of the kidneys. Hyperglycemia and hypertension can damage the kidneys' glomeruli. When the kidneys are damaged, protein leaks out of the kidneys into the urine. Damaged kidneys can no longer remove waste and extra fluids from the bloodstream.

nerve conduction studies
tests used to measure for nerve damage; one way to diagnose neuropathy.

neurologist (ne-RAH-luh-jist)
a doctor who specializes in problems of the nervous system, such as neuropathy.

neuropathy (ne-ROP-uh-thee)
disease of the nervous system. The three major forms in people with diabetes are peripheral neuropathy, autonomic neuropathy, and mononeuropathy. The most common form is peripheral neuropathy, which affects mainly the legs and feet.

noninsulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM)
former term for Type 2 diabetes.

noninvasive blood glucose monitoring (NON-in-VAY-siv)
measuring blood glucose without pricking the finger to obtain a blood sample.

NPH insulin
an intermediate-acting insulin; NPH stands for neutral protamine Hagedorn. On average, NPH insulin starts to lower blood glucose within 1 to 2 hours after injection. It has its strongest effect 6 to 10 hours after injection but keeps working about 10 hours after injection. Also called N insulin.

nutritionist (noo-TRIH-shuh-nist)
a person with training in nutrition; may or may not have specialized training and qualifications. See dietitian.

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obesity
a condition in which a greater than normal amount of fat is in the body; more severe than overweight; having a body mass index of 30 or more.

obstetrician (ob-steh-TRIH-shun)
a doctor who treats pregnant women and delivers babies.

ophthalmologist (AHF-thal-MAH-luh-jist)
a medical doctor who diagnoses and treats all eye diseases and eye disorders. Opthalmologists can also prescribe glasses and contact lenses.

optician (ahp-TI-shun)
a health care professional who dispenses glasses and lenses. An optician also makes and fits contact lenses.

optometrist (ahp-TAH-meh-trist)
a primary eye care provider who prescribes glasses and contact lenses. Optometrists can diagnose and treat certain eye conditions and diseases.

oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT)
a test to diagnose pre-diabetes and diabetes. The oral glucose tolerance test is given by a health care professional after an overnight fast. A blood sample is taken, then the patient drinks a high-glucose beverage. Blood samples are taken at intervals for 2 to 3 hours. Test results are compared with a standard and show how the body uses glucose over time.

oral hypoglycemic agents (hy-po-gly-SEE-mik)
medicines taken by mouth by people with Type 2 diabetes to keep blood glucose levels as close to normal as possible. Classes of oral hypoglycemic agents are alpha-glucosidase inhibitors, biguanides, D-phenylalanine derivatives, meglitinides, sulfonylureas, and thiazolidinediones.

overweight
an above-normal body weight; having a body mass index of 25 to 29.9.

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pancreas (PAN-kree-us)
an organ that makes insulin and enzymes for digestion. The pancreas is located behind the lower part of the stomach and is about the size of a hand.

pancreas transplantation
a surgical procedure to take a healthy whole or partial pancreas from a donor and place it into a person with diabetes.

Pediatric endocrinologist (pee-dee-AT-rik en-doh-krih-NAH-luh-jist)
a doctor who treats children who have endocrine gland problems such as diabetes.

pedorthist (ped-OR-thist)
a health care professional who specializes in fitting shoes for people with disabilities or deformities. A pedorthist can custom-make shoes or orthotics (special inserts for shoes).

periodontal disease (PER-ee-oh-DON-tul)
disease of the gums.

periodontist (PER-ee-oh-DON-tist)
a dentist who specializes in treating people who have gum diseases.

peripheral neuropathy (puh-RIF-uh-rul ne-ROP-uh-thee)
nerve damage that affects the feet, legs, or hands. Peripheral neuropathy causes pain, numbness, or a tingling feeling.

peripheral vascular disease (PVD) (puh-RIF-uh-rul VAS-kyoo-ler)
a disease of the large blood vessels of the arms, legs, and feet. PVD may occur when major blood vessels in these areas are blocked and do not receive enough blood. The signs of PVD are aching pains and slow-healing foot sores.

pharmacist (FAR-mah-sist)
a health care professional who prepares and distributes medicine to people. Pharmacists also give information on medicines.

photocoagulation (FOH-toh-koh-ag-yoo-LAY-shun)
a treatment for diabetic retinopathy. A strong beam of light (laser) is used to seal off bleeding blood vessels in the eye and to burn away extra blood vessels that should not have grown there.

pioglitazone (py-oh-GLIT-uh-zone)
an oral medicine used to treat Type 2 diabetes. It helps insulin take glucose from the blood into the cells for energy by making cells more sensitive to insulin. Belongs to the class of medicines called thiazolidinediones. (Brand name: Actos)

podiatrist (puh-DY-uh-trist)
a doctor who treats people who have foot problems. Podiatrists also help people keep their feet healthy by providing regular foot examinations and treatment.

podiatry (puh-DY-uh-tree)
the care and treatment of feet.

point system
a meal planning system that uses points to rate the caloric content of foods.

polydipsia (pah-lee-DIP-see-uh)
excessive thirst; may be a sign of diabetes.

polyphagia (pah-lee-FAY-jee-ah)
excessive hunger; may be a sign of diabetes.

polyuria (pah-lee-YOOR-ee-ah)
excessive urination; may be a sign of diabetes.

postprandial blood glucose (post-PRAN-dee-ul)
the blood glucose level taken 1 to 2 hours after eating.

pre-diabetes
a condition in which blood glucose levels are higher than normal but are not high enough for a diagnosis of diabetes. People with pre-diabetes are at increased risk for developing Type 2 diabetes and for heart disease and stroke. Other names for pre-diabetes are impaired glucose tolerance and impaired fasting glucose.

premixed insulin
a commercially produced combination of two different types of insulin. See 50/50 insulin and 70/30 insulin.

preprandial blood glucose (pree-PRAN-dee-ul)
the blood glucose level taken before eating.

prevalence
the number of people in a given group or population who are reported to have a disease.

proinsulin (proh-IN-suh-lin)
the substance made first in the pancreas and then broken into several pieces to become insulin.

proliferative retinopathy (pro-LIH-fur-ah-tiv REH-tih-NOP-uh-thee)
a condition in which fragile new blood vessels grow along the retina and in the vitreous humor of the eye.

prosthesis (prahs-THEE-sis)
a man-made substitute for a missing body part such as an arm or a leg.

protein (PRO-teen)
1. One of the three main nutrients in food. Foods that provide protein include meat, poultry, fish, cheese, milk, dairy products, eggs, and dried beans. 2. Proteins are also used in the body for cell structure, hormones such as insulin, and other functions.

proteinuria (PRO-tee-NOOR-ee-uh)
the presence of protein in the urine, indicating that the kidneys are not working properly.

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rapid-acting insulin
a type of insulin that starts to lower blood glucose within 5 to 10 minutes after injection and has its strongest effect 30 minutes to 3 hours after injection, depending on the type used. See aspart insulin and lispro insulin.

rebound hyperglycemia (HY-per-gly-SEE-mee-ah)
a swing to a high level of glucose in the blood after a low level. See Somogyi effect.

Recognized Diabetes Education Programs
diabetes self-management education programs that are approved by the American Diabetes Association.

regular insulin
short-acting insulin. On average, regular insulin starts to lower blood glucose within 30 minutes after injection. It has its strongest effect 2 to 5 hours after injection but keeps working 5 to 8 hours after injection. Also called R insulin.

renal (REE-nal)
having to do with the kidneys. A renal disease is a disease of the kidneys. Renal failure means the kidneys have stopped working.

renal threshold of glucose (THRESH-hold)
the blood glucose concentration at which the kidneys start to excrete glucose into the urine.

repaglinide (reh-PAG-lih-nide)
an oral medicine used to treat Type 2 diabetes. It lowers blood glucose by helping the pancreas make more insulin right after meals. Belongs to the class of medicines called meglitinides. (Brand name: Prandin)

retina (REH-ti-nuh)
the light-sensitive layer of tissue that lines the back of the eye.

retinopathy (REH-tih-NOP-uh-thee)
Eye disease that is caused by damage to the small blood vessels in the retina. Loss of vision may result. (Also known as diabetic retinopathy)

risk factor
anything that raises the chances of a person developing a disease.

rosiglitazone (rose-ee-GLIH-tuh-zone)
an oral medicine used to treat Type 2 diabetes. It helps insulin take glucose from the blood into the cells for energy by making cells more sensitive to insulin. Belongs to the class of medicines called thiazolidinediones. (Brand name: Avandia)

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  • Last Reviewed: August 1, 2013
  • Last Edited: April 7, 2014

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