Let's D-Fine It
Here are some quick d-finitions of diabetes-related words. These words are defined in terms of diabetes so they're very focused on how it relates to diabetes. It may not give you a full and complicated definition of the word.
Diabetes mellitus: A disease where the body does not make or use insulin properly. Without insulin, the body cannot use the food you eat as energy.
Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA): When your blood glucose gets too high for too long, your body starts to make ketones. Ketones are poisonous to your body. If too many ketones build up in your body, you can get very, very sick. DKA usually happens when there is not enough insulin or when you're already sick with the cold or flu.
Diabetes care team (AKA: D-Team): Anyone who is working with you to help you manage your diabetes. This could be your doctor, nurse, CDE, nutritionist, mom, dad, etc.
Dietitian: The same as a nutritionist. A person who has expertise in food and how it affects your blood glucose.
Endocrine System: The system of your body that deals with hormones and metabolism.
Endocrinologist: A doctor who specializes in diabetes care.
Fiber: The part of food that is hard to digest. Foods high in fiber take longer to digest and therefore affect your blood glucose more slowly (i.e. whole wheat bread, prunes and other vegetables).
Glucagon: The opposite of insulin. Glucagon is a hormone that acts to raise your blood glucose. You get a glucagon injection if your blood glucose dropped dangerously low and needed to bring it up quickly.
Glucose: The food you eat gets digested and broken down into a sugar your body's cells can use. This is glucose.
Heart Disease: Diabetes can increase your blood pressure and cholesterol levels. This can lead to heart attack and stroke.
Hormone: A chemical made by your body. Insulin is a hormone.
Hypoglycemia: Occurs when blood glucose goes too low and you have more insulin in your system than your body needs.
Hyperglycemia: Occurs when blood glucose goes too high and you don't have enough insulin in your system.
Insulin: A hormone made by beta cells in your pancreas that acts like a key so glucose can get into your cells. Without insulin to unlock the door into your cells, glucose from the food you eat can't get into your cells and they starve. Insulin is made by the beta cells in your pancreas.
Insulin-dependent: An old term that meant the same as type 1 diabetes. This term is not used anymore.
Insulin pump: A small device that holds insulin and attaches to you right under your skin. Because you are always connected to insulin, you usually don't need to give yourself insulin injections with a syringe unless the insulin pump is not working. Instead, you can tell your pump how much insulin to release and it goes automatically into your skin.
Insulin resistance: For some reason, your body is not able to use the insulin in your body. This occurs most often in people with type 2 diabetes but people with type 1 diabetes can have insulin resistance, too.
Intermediate-acting Insulin (AKA: NPH): This is insulin mixed with something that makes the body absorb the insulin more slowly. That's why this type of insulin looks cloudy and has to be mixed before it's injected. It takes longer (2-4 hours) to start working, it peaks 4-10 hours after injection, and keeps working for 10-16 hours.
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