Glossary of Diabetes Terms
Rapid-Acting Insulin: Covers insulin needs for meals eaten at the same time as the injection; this type of insulin is used with longer-acting insulin. Includes Humalog, Novolog, and Apidra.
Rebound effect: See Somogyi effect.
Regular insulin: A type of insulin that is rapid-acting.
Renal: Relating to the kidneys.
Retina: The center part of the back lining of the eye that senses light. It has many small blood vessels that are sometimes harmed when a person has had diabetes for a long time.
Retinopathy: A disease of the small blood vessels in the retina of the eye.
Risk factor: Anything that increases the chance of a person developing a disease or condition.
Saccharin: An artificial sweetener that is used in place of sugar because it has no calories and does not increase blood sugar. It is sold as SugarTwin and Sweet'N Low.
Self-blood glucose monitoring: See home blood glucose monitoring.
Short-Acting Insulin: Covers insulin needs for meals eaten within 30-60 minutes; includes humulin or novolin, or Velosulin (in an insulin pump).
Somogyi effect: Also called "rebound effect," it occurs when there is an upward swing in blood sugar from an extremely low level of glucose in the blood to a very high level. It usually happens during the night and early morning hours. People who experience high levels of blood sugar in the morning may need to test their blood sugar levels in the middle of the night. If blood sugar levels are repeatedly low, addition of an evening snack or a lowering of insulin doses may be recommended.
Sorbitol: A sugar -- produced from fruits -- that the body uses slowly. It is a sweetener used in diet foods and is called a "nutritive sweetener" because it has four calories in every gram, just like table sugar and starch. These compounds are used in many foods labeled as ''sugar free'' and ''no sugar added'' and can raise your blood glucose. Because a food is labeled ''sugar free,'' it doesn't necessarily mean carbohydrate-free.
Stevia: A natural sugar substitute that has no calories. Truvia is the brand name for a sweetener made from the stevia leaf.
Sucrose: Table sugar; a form of sugar that the body must break down into a more simple form before the blood can absorb it and take it to the cells.
Sucralose: An artificial sweetener that is 600 times sweeter than sugar. It can be used in cooking and is a very popular sweetener. Splenda contains sucralose and has 96 calories per cup.
Sugar: A class of carbohydrates that tastes sweet. Sugar is a quick and easy fuel for the body to use. Some types of sugar are lactose, glucose, fructose, and sucrose.
Sulfonylureas: Pills or capsules that people take to lower the level of sugar in the blood. These oral diabetic medications work to lower your blood sugar by making your pancreas produce more insulin.
Triglyceride: Fats carried in the blood from the food we eat. Most of the fats we eat, including butter, margarines, and oils, are in triglyceride form. Excess triglycerides are stored in fat cells throughout the body. The body needs insulin to remove this type of fat from the blood.
Type 1 diabetes: A type of diabetes in which the insulin-producing cells (called beta cells) of the pancreas are damaged. People with type 1 diabetes produce little or no insulin, so glucose cannot get into the body's cells for use as energy. This causes blood sugar to rise. People with type 1 diabetes must use insulin injections to control their blood sugar.
Type 2 diabetes: A type of diabetes in which the insulin produced is either not enough or the person's body does not respond normally to the amount present. Therefore, glucose in the blood cannot get into the body's cells for use as energy. This results in an increase in the level of glucose (sugar) in the blood.
U-100: See unit of insulin.
Ulcer: A break in the skin; a deep sore. People with diabetes may develop ulcers from minor scrapes on the feet or legs, from cuts that heal slowly, or from the rubbing of shoes that don't fit well. Ulcers can become infected and should be treated promptly.
Ultralente insulin: A type of insulin that is long-acting; usually, the action of this type of insulin works for 25-36 hours after injection. This type of insulin has an onset of action four to five hours after injecting and works most powerfully at eight to 14 hours after injection. Other types of long-acting insulin include Lantus and Levemir.
Unit of insulin: The basic measure of insulin; U-100 is the most common concentration of insulin. U-100 means that there are 100 units of insulin per milliliter (ml) of liquid. For the occasional patient who has severe insulin resistance, insulin is available as a U-500 form.
Unstable diabetes: See brittle diabetes.
Urine testing: Checking urine to see if it contains ketones; if you have type 1 diabetes, are pregnant and have diabetes, or have gestational diabetes, your doctor may ask you to check your urine for ketones. This is an easy test done at home with a dipstick measure.
Urologist: A doctor who specializes in treatment of the urinary tract for men and women, as well as treatment of the genital organs for males.
Vaginitis: An inflammation or infection of the vaginal tissues. A woman with this condition may have itching or burning or vaginal discharge. Women who have diabetes may develop vaginitis more often than women who do not have diabetes.
Vascular: Relating to the body's blood vessels (arteries, veins, and capillaries).
Vein: A blood vessel that carries blood to the heart.
Vitrectomy: A procedure in which the gel from the center of the eyeball is removed because it has blood and scar tissue in it that blocks vision. An eye surgeon replaces the clouded gel with a clear fluid.
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.