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Glossary of Diabetic terms and words used in our website, and for general information.  

 Disclaimer: The contents posted here, is for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for any medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. All links are provided for your convenience and do not signify any endorsement on our behalf. 



Addison’s Disease an autoimmune disease in which the adrenal glands (small glands located above the kidneys) do not work properly or stop working altogether. The adrenal glands produce many hormones, including cortisol, which helps the body maintain heart function, blood pressure control, and blood glucose control. Addison’s disease sometimes occurs with type 1 diabetes.
Albuminuria a condition in which high levels of protein called albumin are found in the urine. Too much can often be a sign of early kidney disease
Alternate Site Testing (AST) refers to using parts of the body other than the fingertips to obtain blood for blood glucose testing
Alpha Cells are found in the Islets of Langerhans within your pancreas. They are responsible for producing glucagon, a hormone which causes an increase in the blood sugar level.
Animal Insulin is the original form of insulin that was obtained from the pancreases of pigs and cows.
Autoimmune Disease is a disorder in which a person’s own antibodies destroy body tissues, such as the beta cells in the pancreas
Basal Your body usually needs a small amount of insulin to hold everything steady, even if you’ve not eaten food. On injections this is usually provided by the long-acting insulin. A pump gives you a small amount all the time, called the basal rate.
Basal/Bolus Insulin Administration (occasionally referred to as the Poor Man’s pump). Using several daily injections of fast-acting insulin (such as Novo Rapid or Humalog) at mealtimes (the bolus doses) with a long acting insulin like Lantus or Levemir (the basal doses) to achieve blood glucose control in a similar way to people who use an insulin pump.
Beta Cells are found in the Islets of Langerhans in the pancreas. Their function is to produce insulin.
Blood Glucose Level is the amount of glucose or sugar found in the food at any given time. It is measured in either mg/dL or mmol/L
Blood Glucose Meters  are hand-held machines designed to test blood glucose levels. A special strip or test strip is inserted into the machine and a small drop of blood is then added to the strip. The machine analyses the blood and gives a reading of the glucose level of the blood usually in a manner of seconds. These small machines allow a person with diabetes greater control and understanding of what is happening in their body at all times.
Blood Pressure  refers to the pressure exerted by blood flow on artery walls’
Bolus is insulin you give yourself in one go, for a reason – usually because you are about to eat carbohydrate, or because you want to lower your blood glucose level. The latest pumps can give this insulin quickly, or spread out over a time. You need to find out for yourself how much insulin you need for different foods, and how much 1 unit will lower your blood glucose level.
Calories Unit of the energy-producing value of food.
CHO, Carbs or  Carbohydrates CHO is its chemical name, since it is made up of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen. A carbohydrate in its most simplest terms is the amount of “sugar” in food. It breaks down into glucose during digestion and raises blood glucose levels
  What are “Net” Carbohydrates?The Net Carbohydrates – ‘Carbs’ (sometimes called digestible carb or effective carb) measure is used by low-carbers to identify the grams of carbohydrate per serving in a product that has a significant effect on your blood sugar. Things like fibre and many sugar-free sweeteners do not fall into this category. So low-carbers can subtract these from the total carb count and come up with the Net Effective Carb figure
  How do I calculate Net Carbs?Subtract “dietary fibre” and “sugar alcohols” called “Polyols”, from the total Carbs – these normally have minimal impact on blood sugar levels and therefore do not need to be counted, e.g. Total Carbs 14g, Less: Fibre (2g), Less: Maltitol (8g) = Net effective Carbs 4g
Ref- the Glycemic Research Institute
Cartridge is the reservoir that holds the insulin in an insulin pump
CDE a Certified Diabetes Educator
Continuous Glucose Monitoring System  a system for testing and recording your glucose level continuously.
C-Peptide  is formed in the beta cells of the pancreas therefore a test of C-peptide levels indicates the amount of beta cell function occurring in the pancreas
Continuous Subcutaneous Insulin Infusion The full medical name for insulin pump therapy
Canula is a small, usually plastic devise that is at the end of an infusion set. It is the part of the insulin pump infusion set that enters the body and allows the insulin through
Coeliac disease An autoimmune disorder of the upper intestinal mucosa that is triggered by cereal proteins, especially wheat gluten, and which leads to a malabsorption of all nutrients, primarily of fat. It can be detected by the presence of anti-transglutaminase antibodies. If these are positive it would be justifiable to take a mucosal biopsy and if this is positive, then dietary treatment is all that is required. About 5% of people with autoimmune diabetes have positive anti-transglutaminase antibodies
Cholesterol is a type of fat which occurs naturally in our bodies and is also found in animal fats. Too much saturated fat and dietary cholesterol may be associated with arteriosclerosis Chronic refers to a disease or disorder that is present over long periods of time often the remainder of a lifetime of an individual
Combination (Extended) Bolus occurs when a portion of the insulin is delivered via the insulin pump right away and a second amount is delivered over a specific period of time.
Correction bolus This is an amount of insulin taken to bring down a high blood glucose level into a normal range. It is done by first figuring out your insulin sensitivity factor—how much insulin will reduce your blood glucose by what amount.
Creatinine is a compound present in the muscles and blood that is passed in the urine. A creatinine clearance test’ is a diagnostic test for kidney function
DIABETESRef Diabetes Australia Website orcall Infoline 1300 136 588 Type-1 or Type-2 ?
DKA or Diabetic Ketoacidosis is the presence of ketones in the blood. In diabetes, this can progress to the complex and serious condition of DKA. If untreated, this leads to coma and death
DM Diabetes Mellitus
Dx or DOD refers to the date of diagnosis
Dehydration is a state in which there is excessive loss of water from body tissues. It can occur when the blood sugar levels are high for long periods of time. It can also result from inadequate water intake, or excessive sweating, vomiting or diarrhoea. Symptoms of dehydration can include extreme thirst, irritability, confusion and flushed, dry skin.
Dextrose Another name for glucose (sugar). Dextrose/glucose tablets are often used to treat mild or moderate hypoglycaemia.
Diabetic Retinopathy is a disease in which the small blood vessels (capillaries) in the back of the eye (retina) may bleed or form new vessels. This condition usually occurs in people with long-standing diabetes. Regular eye examinations are an important part of diabetes management
Dialysis is a method of removing waste products and excess water from the body when the kidneys no longer function adequately Dietician is an expert in nutrition who can assist people plan the kinds and amounts of foods that promote a healthy lifestyle
Endo or Endocrinologist is a diabetes specialist
ESRD End Stage Renal Disease
Exchange Lists A grouping of foods by type to help people on special diets to more easily follow their diet. A person can exchange, trade or substitute one serving of food in that group for a serving of another food in the same group. Foods are grouped as bread/starch, meat, fruit, fats, vegetables, and milk.
Gestational Diabetes occurs when there is any degree of impaired glucose regulation which is first recognised during pregnancy. After the birth the problems often disappear but these women do run a higher than normal risk of developing Type 2 diabetes
Glucagon is a hormone produced by the pancreas that stimulates the liver to produce large amounts of glucose. It is given by injection for hypoglycaemia and generally restores blood sugar within five to ten minutes
Glucose is a simple form of sugar that acts as fuel for the body. It is produced during digestion of carbohydrate and carried to the cells in the blood
Glycaemic Index is a scale that ranks carbohydrate-rich foods by how much they raise blood glucose levels compared to glucose or white breadGlycaemic Index Ratings:Low GI                        = less than 55Moderate GI               = 55-70

High GI                       = more than 70

Glycaemic response is the speed at which the food is able to increase your blood glucose level.  It can be influenced by many factors, including how much food you eat, how much the food is processed or even how the food is prepared
Glycogen is the main carbohydrate storage material, which is stored in the liver and muscles for use when energy is required
Haemoglobin A1c- HBA1c glycated haemoglobin, is a form of haemoglobin (the oxygen-carrying molecule of the blood) that reflects the average blood glucose concentration over a three month period. A high percentage of haemoglobin A1c indicates poor control while a low percentage indicates good control
Honeymoon Period  is the period of time after the diagnosis of type 1 diabetes when the dose of insulin may need to be reduced due to remaining or recovered insulin secretion from the pancreas. This period can last weeks, months or years
Hormones are the substances released into the bloodstream from a gland or organ. Hormones control growth and development, reproduction, sexual characteristics, blood sugar levels and influence the way the body uses and stores energy
Human Insulin is a bio-synthetic insulin created in the 1990s using recombinant-DNA technology
Hyper or Hyperglycaemia hyperglycaemic or high blood sugar occurs when there is too little insulin and too much food or glucose.  This is when a correction bolus/injection may be used (as directed by a physician). Symptoms often include dizziness, blurred vision, inability to concentrate, intense thirst, and a frequent need to urinate.
Hypertension is the medical term for high blood pressure
Hypo or Hypoglycaemia hypoglycaemic, insulin shock or low blood sugar occurs when the body has too much insulin and not enough glucose. Fast acting glucose must be given to the patient immediately. Symptoms include fatigue, listlessness, hunger, blurred vision, and dizziness
IGT Impaired Glucose Tolerance or Pre diabetes is a condition that is marked by high blood sugar levels. In pre diabetes, blood sugar levels, also called glucose levels, are higher than normal, but not considered high enough to qualify as type 2 diabetes
IoB or Insulin On Board This reflects the delay while insulin is being absorbed. Smart pumps will guess for you how much insulin you have already taken, but which has not yet worked. This helps get a more accurate correction bolus. This can also be figured out manually
Insulin is a hormone produced by the beta cells of the pancreas in response to increased levels of glucose in the blood.
Insulin Pump (CSSI) is a portable, battery-operated device that delivers a specific amount of insulin through a small needle inserted under the skin. It can be programmed to deliver constant doses throughout the day and / or deliver extra insulin as required throughout the day. It is not an artificial pancreas. It does not work independently of the operator at this point. You must work with your diabetes care team to set up the insulin pump to your personal needs
Insulin Sensitivity  helps to know how sensitive to insulin you are.Insulin sensitivity helps to determine the total daily insulin dose, including the background insulin, carbohydrate Humalog/Regular (see the 500/450 Rule), and sliding scale Humalog/Regular (see the 1800/1500 Rule). Insulin sensitivity is one measure of one’s risk for heart disease. The more sensitive one is in general, the lower the risk for heart problems. For those with Type I diabetes, insulin sensitivity can be estimated by filling in the blanks below:
Your weight (lbs.) / 4 =_____ units
Your total daily insulin dose (all insulin’s) =_____ units
The answer from line 1, (weight divided by 4) gives your estimated need for insulin. If your actual insulin dose on line 2 is close to this number, and you have good control, you have a normal sensitivity to insulin.
If line 2 is less than line 1 (and your control is good), you have excellent insulin sensitivity.
If line 2 is much greater than line 1, your insulin sensitivity may be lower or you may be on too much insulin. (Are you having frequent insulin reactions?)
With Type II diabetes, determining sensitivity to insulin is more complicated because everyone varies in how much insulin their own pancreas produces and in how resistant they are to insulin
Insulin Shock see hypoglycaemia
iPort is a system that allows injections to be delivered through a “port” placed in the skin every 2-3 days
Ischemia is an inadequate supply of blood to body tissues or organs. It can occur if blood vessels are narrowed or constricted
Islets of Langerhans are clusters of cells in the pancreas that produce insulin, glucagons and pancreatic polypeptide
JDRF or Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation  formerly the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation. This is a research driven organization dedicated to finding a cure for Type 1 diabetes
Juvenile Diabetes now referred to as Type 1 Diabetes
Ketones are chemicals produced by the liver when the body cannot use glucose and must break down fat for energy. Ketones can poison and even kill body cells. When ketones build up, the body gets rid of them in the urine. Ketones that accumulate in the body over long periods of time can lead to serious illness and coma
Ketonuria Having ketone bodies in the urine; a warning sign of diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA).
Ketoacidosis (DKA) is a severe complication of diabetes that is the result of high blood sugar levels and ketones often associated with poor control of diabetes or as a complication due to other illnesses
Labile Diabetes A term used to indicate when a person’s blood glucose (sugar) level often swings quickly from high to low and from low to high.  Also known as brittle diabetes
Laxative Effect In all sugar free products, there could be a small tendency to have a laxative effect. This tends to occur more in people with a sensitivity to sugar substitutes but these are in the minority.
Although this laxative effect is harmless, as a general rule it is not recommended that the daily intake of Polyols should exceed approximately 40 grams
Lipodystrophy is the loss of fatty tissue that can occur as a result of repeated insulin injections in the same area.  When experiencing a lot of highs, this can be one area to check—watch that you are not injecting or infusing insulin into an area that has these lumps as insulin will not be absorbed properly from there
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 (2.0 mmol/L or lower for most people with diabetes). This often requires medication.
Low-GI foods, by virtue of their slow digestion and absorption, produce gradual rises in blood sugar and insulin levels, and have proven benefits for health. Low GI diets have been shown to improve both glucose and lipid levels in people with diabetes (type 1 and type 2). They have benefits for weight control because they help control appetite and delay hunger.Low GI diets also reduce insulin levels and insulin resistance
MDI or Multiple Daily Injections refer to the use of three or more injections of insulin through the course of the day.
mg/dL or Milligrams per decilitre. A unit for measuring blood glucose levels most commonly used in the US.
To convert to mmol/L, divide this number by 18
Metabolic Syndrome is a combination of health conditions that place a person at high risk for heart disease. These conditions are type 2 diabetes, hypertension (high blood pressure), hyperlipidaemia (high levels of fat in the blood), and obesity. According to theory, all of these conditions are associated with high blood insulin levels, and it is claimed that the underlying problem in patients with the Metabolic Syndrome is faulty insulin release from the beta cells of the pancreas. It was previously called Syndrome X
Nephropathy is any disease of the kidneys. Kidney damage caused by diabetes, called diabetic nephropathy, can occur in several ways. The typical form of diabetic nephropathy, called diabetic glomerulosclerosis, has large amounts of urine protein, hypertension, and is slowly progressive. It usually doesn’t occur until after many years of diabetes, and can be delayed by tight control of the blood sugar. Usually the best lab test for early detection of diabetic nephropathy is measurement of
micro albumin in the urine
Neuropathy is a disease of the nervous system. Many people who have had diabetes for long periods of time will have nerve damage.  The three major forms of nerve damage are peripheral neuropathy (the most common form which mainly affects the feet and legs), autonomic neuropathy, and mono neuropathy
Pancreas An organ behind the lower part of the stomach that is about the size of a hand. It has two major responsibilities–part of it makes insulin so that they body can use glucose for energy and another part makes enzymes that help the body to digest food. Spread all over the pancreas are areas called the Islets of Langerhans. The cells in these areas each have a special purpose. The alpha cells make glucagon, which raises the level of glucose in the blood; the beta cells make insulin; the delta cells make somatisation. There are also PP cells and the D1 cells, about which little is known
Pancreas Transplant A surgical procedure that involves replacing the pancreas of a person who has diabetes with a healthy pancreas that can make insulin. The healthy pancreas comes from a donor who has just died or from a living relative. A person can donate half a pancreas and still live normally. At present, pancreas transplants are usually performed in persons with Type 1 diabetes who have severe complications. This is because after the transplant the patient must take immunosuppressive drugs that are highly toxic and may cause damage to the body
Peripheral Vascular Disease (PVD) Disease in the large blood vessels of the arms, legs and feet. People who have had diabetes for a long time may get this because the major blood vessels in their arms, legs and feet are blocked and these limbs do not receive enough blood. The signs of PVD are aching pains in the extremities (especially when walking) and foot sores that heal slowly. Although people with diabetes cannot always avoid PVD, doctors say that they have a better chance of avoiding it if they take good care of their feet, do not smoke, and keep both their blood pressure and diabetes under good control
sometimes referred to as “Sugar Alcohols” are natural sugar free sweeteners, these include Isomalt, sorbitol, Xylitol, Maltitol.Polyols have a very slow digestive quality and therefore much of the product will pass through the body undigested. The undigested portion of the Polyols when passing through the intestine inhibits the absorption of fluids and this is what can cause the negligible laxative effect. When products containing Polyols they are not fully absorbed by the blood in the body.In fact a small portion is slowly absorbed through the small intestine and carried in the blood supply to the liver, where it is converted to glucose. Because of the slowness of absorption, the majority of polyols (approximately ¾ of that consumed) moves down to the lower intestine. There it is metabolised by friendly bacteria to short-chain fatty acids, which are mostly returned to the liver for oxidation, providing energy
Rebound a swing to high levels of glucose (sugar) in the blood after have a low level (also referred to as the Somogyi effect)
Renal Threshold When the blood is holding so much of a substance such as glucose (sugar) that the kidneys allow the excess to spill into the urine. This is also called “kidney threshold,” “spilling point,” and “leak point.”
Secondary Diabetes When a person gets diabetes because of another disease or because of taking certain drugs or chemicals
Steviol Glycoside The steviol glycosides  are responsible for the sweet taste of the leaves of the STEVIA plant ( Stevia rebaudiana bertoni ). These compounds range in sweetness from 40 to 300 times sweeter than sucrose. They are heat stable, pH stable, and do not ferment.They also do not induce a glycemic response when ingested, making them attractive as natural sweeteners to diabetics andothers on carbohydrate-controlled diets.
Sugar Alcohols sometimes referred to as “Polyols” are natural sugar free sweeteners, these include Isomalt, sorbitol, Xylitol, Maltitol
Sweeteners/Sugar Substitutes Artificial sugar substitutes – Non-Nutritive Sweetners
Note that because many of these have little or no food energy, comparison of sweetness based on energy, content is not meaningful.Ace K – 950                         Acesulphane Potassium (Acesulphane K) 200 times sweeter than sugar, has a bitter after taste. Used widely as an artifical sweetner in low joule gums, drinks, diet foods etc.Aspartame – 951               (Equal ) 160-200× sweetness (by weight)

Cyclamate – 952                30× sweetness (by weight)

Saccharin – 954                 (Sweet’N Low™)  300× sweetness (by weight)

Sucralose – 955                 Artificial sweetener 600 times sweeter than sugar. Not listed in Australia prior to 1992. Found under the brand name of Splenda™

Sorbitol – 420                     0.6× sweetness (by weight), 0.9× sweetness (by food energy), 0.65× energy density


  Natural sugar (sucrose) substitutes – Nutritive Sweetners
Erythritol – 968   0.7× sweetness (by weight), 14× sweetness of sucrose (by food energy), 0.05× energy density of sucroseIsomalt – 953      0.45×–0.65× sweetness (by weight), 0.9×–1.3× sweetness (by food energy), 0.5× energy density,Maltitol – 965      0.9× sweetness (by weight), 1.7× sweetness (by food energy), 0.525× energy densityStevia – 960        up to 250 – 400 × sweetness (by weight depending on strength)

Xylitol – 967          1 × sweetness (by weight), 1.7× sweetness (by food energy), 0.6× energy density

Thrush An infection of the mouth. In people with diabetes, this infection may be caused by high levels of glucose (sugar) in mouth fluids, which helps the growth of fungus that causes the infection. Patches of whitish-coloured skin in the mouth are signs of this disease
Untethered Insulin Regimen The use of a long lasting insulin (such as Levemir or Lantus) with basal amounts delivered through an insulin pump or injection
Unsaturated Fat The “good” fat found in food. Substituting good fats for saturated fats is a good way to reduce cholesterol levels
Urinalysis a test of a urine sample that can reveal many problems of the urinary tract and other body systems. The sample may be observed for colour, cloudiness, concentration; signs of drug use; chemical composition, including glucose; the presence of protein, blood cells, or germs; or other signs of disease
Xylitol A nutritive sweetener used in dietary foods. It is a sugar alcohol that the body uses slowly and contains fewer calories than table sugar and has remarkable dental care properties