Diabetic Terms and Language

You might be wondering what some of the terms mentioned mean or stand for so here's an explanation of some:

Insulin - A hormone which normally acts as a 'key' to 'unlock' cells and allow glucose in and produce energy for well life! In a normal person without diabetes this is produced by the islets of langerhans in the pancreas and released as and when its needed throughout the day. This doesn't happen in a type 1 diabetic meaning the sugar level in the blood is high unless it is injected.

MDI - Multiple Daily Injections. These are injections of insulin via pens or syringes, they consist of usually one or two injections of long-acting insulin (basal) which acts as a background level of insulin to keep levels steady and injections of short-acting insulin at meal times or when sugar is high (bolus).

Insulin pump - A device which is constantly connected to a diabetic releasing a background amount of insulin (basal rate) and then amounts of insulin programmed in by the used at meal times/snacks or when sugar is high (boluses).

Low - This refers to low blood sugar or hypoglycemia, with diabetes this can occur if too much insulin is given and not enough carbohydrates are eaten, exercise causing sugar to be used up quicker or MANY other factors (which is annoying!)

High - Opposite of low (funny that!). This is high blood sugar or hyperglycemia, with diabetes this can happen with too little insulin and too many carbohydrates and again ALL sorts of things!

Keytones -These occur when sugar levels run too high and the body begins to break down fat which releases keytones which can be leaked into the urine and are often tested for on diagnosis of diabetes. Keytones can be very dangerous and so if high ones are found a trip to hospital would be needed.

I:C Ratio - Insulin to carbohydrate ratio. This is used when using fast acting insulin such as Humalog, Novalog and Apidra, it is where the insulin is matched to the amount of carbs eaten, it varies depending on the person, time of day and insulin needs.

Endo - Endocrinologist, a doctor specialising in the endocrine system. Endocrinologists treat those with diseases such as diabetes and others relating to hormones.

BG Tester/meter - A small device used to test the amount of sugar in the blood in either mmol/l or mg/dl.

DOC - Diabetic Online Community, the community of diabetics that reside on the internet in places such as twitter TuDiabetes and other places. They keep in contact and discuss everything diabetes related from complications to cures to where to hide your pump in a dress!

HbA1c - The test usually taken to judge the amount of glucose in the blood over the past 3 months.

Fructosamine - The test I have instead of a HbA1c to measure the amount of glucose in my blood from the past 3 weeks as opposed to the past 3 months. I cannot have a HbA1c as my haemoglobin is D shaped instead of O shaped! 

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