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Glossary

Glossary overview

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A

ABC
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ACB
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ADRENALINE (also called EPINEPHRINE)
A hormone that is secreted in response to stress prepares the body for ‘flight or fight’. It has widespread effects on the circulation, the muscles and glucose metabolism.

B

BCD
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BLOOD PRESSURE
The pressure of blood flow on artery walls. Blood pressure is expressed using two numbers: the first number is systolic pressure, the pressure caused by the heart pushing blood out into the arteries. The second number is diastolic pressure, the pressure when the heart is relaxed and refilling with blood. High blood pressure (hypertension) is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease, diabetic nephropathy and diabetic retinopathy. In order to reduce the risk of these complications, people with diabetes should aim for a blood pressure less than 130/80 mm Hg.

BLOOD GLUCOSE METER/MONITOR
A hand-held machine designed to test blood glucose levels. A drop of blood (usually from the fingertip) is placed on a small test strip that is inserted into the meter. The meter displays the amount of glucose in the blood. Blood glucose meters allow people with diabetes to play an active role in monitoring and managing their own blood glucose levels.

C

CDE
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Also See: ABC | BCD

CHOLESTEROL
A type of fat that occurs naturally in human bodies and is also found in animal fats. Abnormal levels of cholesterol are risk factors for cardiovascular disease.

Also See: TOTAL CHOLESTEROL TO HDL-C RATIO | HIGH-DENSITY LIPOPROTEIN CHOLESTEROL (HDL-C) | TRIGLYCERIDE | LOW-DENSITY LIPOPROTEIN CHOLESTEROL (LDL-C): | TOTAL CHOLESTEROL

F

FAT
The most concentrated source of calories in a diet. While fat is an important part of a healthy diet, too much fat, especially saturated fat, can increase the risk of obesity, heart disease and stroke.

H

HIGH-DENSITY LIPOPROTEIN CHOLESTEROL (HDL-C)
A type of cholesterol that is involved in transporting cholesterol and other lipids from the body. It is sometimes called “good” cholesterol because high levels of HDL can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.

J

JUVENILE-ONSET DIABETES
The former term for type 1 diabetes. It is no longer used, as type 1 diabetes is also diagnosed in adults.

K

KETOACIDOSIS
An acute and severe complication of diabetes that is the result of high levels of blood glucose and ketones. It is often associated with poor control of diabetes or occurs as a complication of other illnesses. It can be life threatening and requires emergency treatment. Signs and symptoms include fruity odor on the breath, shortness of breath, confusion, nausea, vomiting and weight loss.

L

LOW-DENSITY LIPOPROTEIN CHOLESTEROL (LDL-C):
Particles that carry cholesterol in the blood and around the body for use by cells. LDL-C is commonly known as “bad” cholesterol because high levels of LDL-C lead to increased risk of cardiovascular disease. Because most people with diabetes are at very high risk of heart disease, it is very important to achieve recommended LDL-C targets (less than 2.0 mmol/L for most people with diabetes). This usually requires medication.

M

MATURITY-ONSET DIABETES OF THE YOUNG (MODY)
Any of several rare hereditary forms of diabetes due to defects of insulin secretion from the pancreas. There are several types of MODY, and they vary in severity. Most often MODY appears like a very mild version of type 1 diabetes, with some insulin production and normal insulin sensitivity. MODY is not type 2 diabetes in a young person.

mg/dL
The abbreviation for milligrams per deciliter. In the United States, blood glucose is expressed in mg/dL. To convert mg/dL to mmol/L (the unit used in Canada), divide by 18.

mmol/L
The abbreviation for millimoles per litre. In Canada, blood glucose is described in mmol/L. To convert mmol/L to mg/dL (the unit of measurement for blood glucose used in the United States), multiply by 18.

P

PANCREAS
An organ in the digestive system that produces several important hormones, including insulin and glucagon. It also produces pancreatic juice containing enzymes that help digestion.

S

SELF-MONITORING OF BLOOD GLUCOSE (SMBG)
Blood testing done by a person with diabetes with a blood glucose meter/monitor to determine how much glucose is in the blood. SMBG helps people with diabetes and their healthcare professionals make decisions about their medications, diet and exercise in order to achieve good blood glucose control.

T

TOTAL CHOLESTEROL TO HDL-C RATIO
The proportion of HDL-C to total cholesterol. A high ratio is often associated with low levels of HDL-C and/or high triglycerides.

Also See: HIGH-DENSITY LIPOPROTEIN CHOLESTEROL (HDL-C) | TRIGLYCERIDE

TRIGLYCERIDE
The main component of vegetable oil and animal fats. In the human body, high levels of triglycerides raise the risk of heart disease and stroke.

TOTAL CHOLESTEROL
The combined measurement of all types of cholesterol in the blood.

TYPE 1 DIABETES
An autoimmune disease that occurs when the pancreas no longer produces any insulin or produces very little insulin. Type 1 diabetes usually develops in childhood or adolescence and affects approximately 10% of people with diabetes. There is no cure. It is treated with lifelong insulin injections and careful attention to diet and physical activity. Formerly called insulin-dependent diabetes or juvenile diabetes.

TYPE 2 DIABETES
A disease that occurs when the pancreas does not produce enough insulin to meet the body’s needs and/or the body is unable to respond properly to the actions of insulin (insulin resistance). Type 2 diabetes usually occurs later in life (although it can occur in younger people) and affects approximately 90% of people with diabetes. There is no cure. It is treated with careful attention to diet and exercise and usually also diabetes pills (oral antihyperglycemic agents) and/or insulin. Formerly called non-insulin-dependent diabetes or adult-onset diabetes.

U

UNITED KINGDOM PROSPECTIVE DIABETES STUDY (UKPDS)
A 20-year study that included over 5,000 patients with type 2 diabetes in the United Kingdom. It investigated the effect of different treatments on the health and well being of people with type 2 diabetes. It found that better blood glucose control and better blood pressure control could significantly reduce a person’s risk of developing the complications of diabetes, especially diabetic retinopathy and diabetic nephropathy.

W

WAIST CIRCUMFERENCE
A measurement of waist size, taken around the abdomen just above the hipbones. A waist circumference of 102 cm (40 inches) or more in men and 88 cm (35 inches) or more in women is associated with increased health risks. People of certain ethnicities have different targets for waist circumference.

Also See: FAT