A1C — Test that calculates how much glucose adheres to part of the hemoglobin during the last 90-120 days. This test gives the most accurate overall picture of one’s typical blood glucose levels, and involves a small (finger prick) of blood as a sample. Test results are usually available within minutes.
Blood Glucose — The main sugar that the body makes from the food we eat. Glucose is carried through the bloodstream to provide energy to all of the body’s living cells. The cells cannot use glucose without the help of insulin.
blood pressure — The force of the blood against the artery walls. 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.
carbohydrate — 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 — A substance 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 cholesterol can make fats stick to the walls of the arteries and cause a disease that decreases or stops circulation.
diabetes — The short name for the disease called diabetes mellitus. Diabetes results when the body cannot use blood glucose as energy because of having too little insulin or being unable to use insulin. See also type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes, and gestational diabetes.
diabetic eye disease — A disease of the small blood vessels of the retina of the eye in people with diabetes. In this disease, the vessels swell and leak liquid into the retina, blurring the vision and sometimes leading to blindness.
flu — An infection caused by the “flu” (short for “influenza”) virus. The flu is a contagious viral illness that strikes quickly and severely. Signs include high fever, chills, body aches, runny nose, sore throat, and headache.
gestational diabetes — A type of diabetes that can occur in pregnant women who have not been known to have diabetes before. Although gestational diabetes usually subsides after pregnancy, many women who’ve had gestational diabetes develop type 2 diabetes later in life.
heart attack — Damage to the heart muscle caused when the blood vessels supplying the muscle are blocked, such as when the blood vessels are clogged with fats (a condition sometimes called hardening of the arteries).
high blood pressure—A condition where the blood circulates through the arteries with too much force. High blood pressure tires the heart, harms the arteries, and increases the risk of heart attack, stroke, and kidney problems.
hyperglycemia—See high blood glucose.
hypertension—See high blood pressure.
hypoglycemia—See low blood glucose.immunization—Sometimes called vaccination; a shot or injection that protects a person from getting an illness by making the person “immune” to it.
insulin—A hormone that helps the body use blood glucose for energy. The beta cells of the pancreas make insulin. When people with diabetes can’t make enough insulin, they may have to inject it from another source.
insulin-dependent diabetes—See type 1 diabetes.
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.
nephropathy—See diabetic kidney disease.
neuropathy—See diabetic nerve damage.
non-insulin-dependent diabetes—See type 2 diabetes.
retinopathy—See diabetic eye disease.
self-monitoring blood glucose—A way for people with diabetes to find out how much glucose is in their blood. A drop of blood from the fingertip is placed on a special coated strip of paper that “reads” (often through an electronic meter) the amount of glucose in the blood.
stroke—Damage to a part of the brain that happens when the blood vessels supplying that part are blocked, such as when the blood vessels are clogged with fats (a condition sometimes called hardening of the arteries).
type 1 diabetes—A condition in which the pancreas makes so little insulin that the body can’t use blood glucose as energy. Type 1 diabetes most often occurs in people younger than age 30 and must be controlled with daily insulin injections.
type 2 diabetes—A condition in which the body either makes too little insulin or can’t use the insulin it makes to use blood glucose as energy. Type 2 diabetes most often occurs in people older than age 40 and can often be controlled through meal plans and physical activity plans. Some people with type 2 diabetes have to take diabetes pills or insulin.
urea — A nitrogen-based substance that is normally cleared from the bloodstream by the kidneys and excreted from the body via urine. Diseases that compromise kidney function (such as diabetes) often lead to increased levels of this substance in the bloodstream.
yeast infection— Candidiasis is an infection caused by a group of microscopic fungi or yeast. There are more than 20 species of Candida, the most common being Candida albicans. Under certain conditions, they can become so numerous they cause infections, particularly in warm and moist areas.