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Diabetes Health Center

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Glossary of Diabetes Terms

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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.

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