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Diabetes Glossary A-F

Simple definitions of diabetes-related terms and jargon.

Choose a letter  A  B  C  D  E  F

A

A1C TEST
Also called a hemoglobin A1C, glycated hemoglobin test, or HbA1C test. This blood test shows the average blood sugar level over the past two to three months. Studies have shown that an A1C as close to normal (<6.0%) as possible reduces your risk for long-term complications.

ATHEROSCLEROSIS
A disease that causes damage to the blood vessels, including those that carry blood to the heart, arms, legs, and head. Untreated atherosclerosis can lead to heart attacks, strokes, high blood pressure, and poor blood flow to arms, legs, and brain.

B

BLOOD SUGAR
The glucose, or sugar, that is in your blood. The body uses blood sugar for energy, but too much circulating in the bloodstream can cause damage to virtually every system of the body. Blood sugar levels are affected by food, medication, physical activity, stress, illness, and other factors. A blood sugar meter is used to test levels at home.

C

CARBOHYDRATE
Carbohydrates, or carbs, are found in bread, cereal, pasta, fruit, milk, and some vegetables. They are completely changed into glucose (sugar) during digestion and therefore people with diabetes must be aware of how much carbohydrate they consume in each snack or meal.

CERTIFIED DIABETES EDUCATOR (CDE)
A health care professional who has been certified by the National Certification Board for Diabetes Educators. CDEs must be educated and experienced in all areas of diabetes self-management.

CHOLESTEROL
Waxy fatty substance made by the liver and carried to body cells. Necessary for building the cell membrane. Also essential for other body functions. The liver can make all the cholesterol a person needs. Eating foods that are high in saturated fat allows the liver to produce more cholesterol (see also HDL and LDL).

CHOLESTEROL, DIETARY
A dietary fat found in foods from animal sources (meats, poultry, fish, milk, cheese, butter, margarine, and eggs).

CONTINUOUS GLUCOSE MONITOR (CGM)
A device that measures the glucose levels in your body every few minutes automatically and continuously, and can tell you when your blood sugar levels are trending up or down. A CGM does not replace regular finger stick testing.

D

DCCT
The Diabetes Control and Complications Trial was a large clinical study that proved that improving control of blood sugar reduces the risk of eye disease, kidney disease, and nerve damage due to diabetes.

DIABETES  MELLITUS
Another name for diabetes. The word mellitus is Latin for sweet or honey. In diabetes, the body is unable to use sugar properly, resulting in high levels of sugar in the blood that are damaging to the body.

DIABETES PILLS
Oral medication or medicine for managing your diabetes.  Different diabetes medicines work different ways - some cause your body to produce more insulin; some help your body use insulin better; some cause your body to make less sugar; and some help your kidneys clear excess sugar out of your body. There are also pills that combine two different types of medicine in one.

DIABETIC KETOACIDOSIS (DKA)
DKA is a life-threatening complication of diabetes caused by extremely high blood glucose levels and ketones in the body.

DURATION
The length of time that insulin remains in the bloodstream.

E

F

FAT
Also called a triglyceride or lipid. Carries vitamins, keeps skin healthy, and adds flavor, texture, and aroma to foods. By itself, fat as very little immediate effect on blood sugar, but eaten in combination with carbohydrates it can slow the blood sugar rise associated with those carbs.

FAT,  MONOUNSATURATED
Found mainly in olive oil, nut oils, and canola oil. Monounsaturated fat is always a liquid at room temperature. Unsaturated fats are good for you in moderation.

FAT,  POLYUNSATURATED
Usually liquid in form and comes from vegetable sources such as corn, safflower, and sunflower oils. Used in liquid and soft tub margarines. Also the primary fat in vegetable oils. Unsaturated fats are good for
you in moderation.

FAT, SATURATED
Found in foods from animal sources, such as meat, cheese, poultry, fish, eggs, butter, margarine, and milk. Can also be found in foods that contain coconut oil, palm oil, and palm kernel oil. Usually hard at room temperature and allows the liver to make cholesterol. Saturated fats contribute to heart disease.

FAT, TRANS FAT 
Made when liquid oil is made into a solid fat and acts like saturated fats to raise cholesterol. Found in processed foods like snacks (crackers and chips) and baked goods (muffins, cookies and cakes), stick margarines, shortening and fried foods. Trans fats raise bad (LDL) cholesterol and lower good (HDL) cholesterol levels.

FRUCTOSE
Type of sugar found in many fruits and vegetables.

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Diabetes Glossary G-M
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