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Type 2 Diabetes: Supplements Overview

Definitions continued...

Diabetic neuropathy: A nerve disorder caused by diabetes. This disorder leads to pain or loss of feeling in the toes, feet, legs, hands, or arms.

Endocrinologist: A specialist in diseases and conditions of the glands (organs that make hormones).

Essential trace mineral: A mineral that is required in minute amounts by the body and must be obtained from dietary sources.

Fasting blood glucose: Blood glucose level after a person has not eaten for 8 to 12 hours (usually overnight).

Free radical: A highly reactive chemical that attacks molecules that are key to cell functioning, by capturing electrons and thus changing chemical structures.

Functional food: A food that has biologically active components (such as fish oils or plant estrogens) that may provide health benefits beyond basic nutrition.

HbA1c: Hemoglobin A1c, a blood test that measures a person's average blood glucose level over a period of weeks or months.

Hormone: A chemical made by glands in the body. Hormones circulate in the bloodstream and control the actions of certain cells or organs. Some hormones can also be made in laboratories.

Ophthalmologist: A specialist in diseases and disorders of the eye.

PCB: Short for polychlorinated biphenyl. PCBs have had various uses in industry, but most uses were banned by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in 1979 because of hazards to human health. When discharged into the environment, PCBs stay in the environment for a long period of time and build up in certain species of fish and wildlife.

Placebo: An inert or sham treatment, such as a sugar pill.

Podiatrist: A specialist in care of the foot and treatment of foot disorders.

Polyphenols: A group of substances that are found in many plants. They give some flowers, fruits, and vegetables their color. Polyphenols have antioxidant activity and are being studied as possible CAM treatments.

Polyunsaturated fatty acid: One of the three types of fatty acids. Polyunsaturated fatty acids are liquid at room temperature. They contain a chain of carbon atoms and hydrogen and oxygen molecules, with two or more double bonds between the carbon atoms.

Randomized clinical trial: In a randomized clinical trial, each participant is assigned by chance (through a computer or a table of random numbers) to one of two groups. The investigational group receives the therapy, also called the active treatment. The control group receives either the standard treatment, if there is one for their disease or condition, or a placebo.

Triglyceride: The form in which fat is stored in the body. High triglyceride levels in the blood may raise the risks for heart attack or stroke.

Whole medical system: A system that employs practices from among the four CAM domains--mind-body medicine, biologically based practices, manipulative and body-based practices, and energy medicine. Conventional medicine is one example of a whole medical system. An example of a CAM whole medical system is traditional Chinese medicine.


WebMD Public Information from the U.S. National Institutes of Health

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