Take Charge of Your Diabetes
A1C—A test that sums up how much glucose has
been sticking to part of the hemoglobin during the past 3–4 months.
Hemoglobin is a substance in the red blood cells that supplies oxygen to
the cells of the body. The AIC goal for patients in general is an AIC
goal of less
than 7%. The AIC goal for the individual patient is an AIC as close to
6% as possible without a considerable amount of low blood glucose.
ACE inhibitor—A type of drug used to lower
blood pressure. Studies indicate that it may also help prevent or slow
the progression of kidney disease in people with diabetes. ACE is an
acronym for angiotensin-converting enzyme.
autoimmune process—A process where the
body’s immune system attacks and destroys body tissue that it mistakes
for foreign matter.
beta cells—Cells that make insulin. Beta
cells are found in areas of the pancreas called the Islets of
bladder—A hollow organ that urine drains
into from the kidneys. From the bladder, urine leaves the body.
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
the highest, or systolic, occurs when the heart pumps blood into the
blood vessels, and the lowest, or diastolic, occurs when the heart
calluses—Thick, hardened areas of the
skin, generally on the foot, caused by friction or pressure. Calluses
can lead to other problems, including serious infection and even
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.
chronic kidney disease (CKD)—retains
fluids and harmful wastes build up because the kidneys no longer work
corns—A thickening of the skin of the feet
or hands, usually caused by pressure against the skin.
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dehydration—the loss of too much
body fluid through frequent urinating, sweating, diarrhea, or vomiting.
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.
diabetes pills—Pills or capsules that are
taken by mouth to help lower the blood glucose level. These pills may
work for people whose bodies are still making insulin.
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.
diabetic ketoacidosis—High blood
glucose with the presence of ketones in the urine and bloodstream, often
caused by taking too little insulin or during illness.
diabetic kidney disease—Damage to
the cells or blood vessels of the kidney.
diabetic nerve damage—Damage to the
nerves of a person with diabetes. Nerve damage may affect the feet and
hands, as well as major organs.
dialysis—A method for removing waste from
the blood when the kidneys can no longer do the job.
dilated eye exam—Eye drops are
placed in the eyes to widen the pupils to see the retina better. The eye
doctor will look for changes in the retina in the back of the eyes.
diphtheria—An acute, contagious disease
that causes fever and problems for the heart and nervous system.
EKG—A test that measures the heart’s action.
Also called an electrocardiogram.
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.
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gestational diabetes—A type of
diabetes that can occur in pregnant women who have not been known to
have diabetes before.
GFR—glumerular filtration rate- A measure of
the kidney’s ability to filter and remove waste products. It is the best
test to measure kidney function and stage of kidney disease.
gingivitis—A swelling and soreness of
the gums that, without treatment, can cause serious gum problems and
glucagon—A hormone that raises the blood
glucose—A sugar in our blood and a source
of energy for our bodies.
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).
HDL (or high-density lipoprotein)—A
combined protein and fatlike substance. Low in cholesterol, it usually
passes freely through the arteries. Sometimes called “good cholesterol.”
high blood glucose—A condition that
occurs in people with diabetes when their blood glucose levels are too
high. Symptoms include having to urinate often, being very thirsty, and
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.
hormone—A chemical that special cells in
the body release to help other cells work. For example, insulin is a
hormone made in the pancreas to help the body use glucose as energy.
high blood glucose.
high blood pressure.
vaccination; a shot or injection that protects a person from getting an
illness by making the person "immune" to it.
inject—To force a liquid into the body with
a needle and syringe.
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.
type 1 diabetes.
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ketones—Chemical substances that the body
makes when it doesn’t have enough insulin in the blood. When ketones
build up in the body for a long time, serious illness or coma can
kidneys—Twin organs found in the lower
part of the back. The kidneys purify the blood of all waste and harmful
material. They also control the level of some helpful chemical
substances in the blood.
laser surgery—Surgery that uses a
strong ray of special light, called a laser, to treat damaged parts of
the body. Laser surgery can help treat some diabetic eye diseases.
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.
LDL (or low-density lipoprotein)—A
combined protein and fatlike substance. Rich in cholesterol, it tends to
stick to the walls in the arteries. Sometimes called “bad cholesterol.”
meal plan—A guide to help people get the
proper amount of calories, carbohydrates, proteins, and fats in their
microalbumin—A protein found in blood
plasma and urine. The presence of microalbumin in the urine can be a
sign of kidney disease.
diabetic kidney disease.
diabetic nerve damage.
type 2 diabetes.
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pancreas—An organ in the body that makes
insulin so that the body can use glucose for energy. The pancreas also
makes enzymes that help the body digest food.
periodontitis—A gum disease in which
the gums shrink away from the teeth. Without treatment, it can lead to
plaque—A film of mucus that traps bacteria
on the surface of the teeth. Plaque can be removed with daily brushing
and flossing of teeth.
pumice stone—A special foot care tool used
to gently file calluses as instructed by your health care team.
diabetic eye disease.
risk factors—Traits that make it more
likely that a person will get an illness. For example, a risk factor for
getting type 2 diabetes is having a family history of diabetes.
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).
support group—A group of people who share
a similar problem or concern. The people in the group help one another
by sharing experiences, knowledge, and information.
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type 1 diabetes—A condition in which the
pancreas makes so little insulin that the body can’t use blood glucose
as energy. People with type 1 diabetes need to take insulin every day.
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. All people with diabetes need to eat
healthy foods stay at a healthy weight and be active everyday. People
with type 2 often need to diabetes have to take diabetes pills or
insulin. type 2 diabetes is the most common from of diabetes.
ulcer—A break or deep sore in the skin.
Germs can enter an ulcer and may be hard to heal.
urea—One of the chief waste products of the
body. When the body breaks down food, it uses what it needs and throws
the rest away as waste. The kidneys flush the waste from the body in the
form of urea, which is in the urine.
vaccination—A shot given to protect
against a disease.
vagina—A canal in females from the external
genitalia (vulva) to the cervix of the uterus.
vitrectomy—An operation to remove the
blood that sometimes collects at the back of the eyes when a person has
yeast infection—A vaginal infection that is
usually caused by a fungus. Women who have this infection may feel
itching, burning when urinating, and pain, and some women have a vaginal
discharge. Yeast infections occur more frequently in women with
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