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Diabetes Dictionary

To take care and control of your diabetes means learning about diabetes and the many related medical and management terms. Diabetic Living has assembled these important-to-know words in an online diabetes dictionary. This diabetes dictionary has been adapted from the Diabetes Dictionary from the National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse.

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F - H

F

Fasting blood glucose test, fasting plasma glucose (FPG): A check of a person's blood glucose level after not eating for 8-12 hours (usually overnight). It is one test that can be used to diagnose prediabetes and diabetes. It is also used to check a PWD’s glucose level.

Fat: One of the three main nutrients in food. Foods that provide fat are butter, margarine, salad dressing, oil, nuts, meat, poultry, fish, and some dairy products. Excess calories are stored as body fat, providing the body with a reserve supply of energy and other functions.

Fructosamine test: A blood test that measures the number of blood glucose molecules linked to protein molecules in the blood. The test provides information about a person's average blood glucose level for the previous three weeks. This test is not used often other than in pregnancy, in people whose A1C is not reliable, or in research.

G

Gastroparesis: A form of neuropathy (nerve damage) that affects the stomach. Digestion of food may be incomplete or delayed, resulting in nausea, vomiting, or bloating. This condition can make blood glucose control difficult.

Gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM): A type of diabetes that develops only during pregnancy and often disappears upon delivery. Having GDM indicates greatly increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes later in life. GDM is managed with meal planning, physical activity, and, in some cases, blood glucose-lowering medication (most often insulin). GDM can put the fetus at greater risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes later in life. Developing type 2 diabetes during pregnancy is not GDM.

Glimepiride: An oral blood glucose-lowering medicine used to treat type 2 diabetes. Glimepiride lowers blood glucose by helping the pancreas make more insulin and by helping the body better use the insulin it makes. Glimepiride belongs to the category of medicines called sulfonylureas.

Glipizide: An oral blood glucose-lowering medicine used to treat type 2 diabetes. Glipizide lowers blood glucose by helping the pancreas make more insulin and by helping the body better use the insulin it makes. Glipizide belongs to the category of medicines called sulfonylureas.

Glucagon: A hormone produced by the alpha cells in the pancreas. Glucagon raises blood glucose. An injectable form of glucagon, available by prescription, may be used to treat severe hypoglycemia. People with type 1 or type 2 diabetes who take insulin should talk to their providers about having glucagon available.

Glucose: The simplest form of sugar. It’s the body’s preferred and primary source of energy and travels through bloodstream to provide energy to the body’s cells.

Glyburide: An oral blood glucose-lowering medicine used to treat type 2 diabetes. Glyburide lowers blood glucose by helping the pancreas make more insulin and by helping the body better use the insulin it makes. Glyburide belongs to the category of medicines called sulfonylureas.

H

HDL cholesterol: Stands for high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, which is a fat found in the blood that takes extra cholesterol from the blood to the liver for removal. Sometimes called good cholesterol, this is the lipid level for which a higher number is better.

Heart attack: A condition in which the blood vessels to the heart become totally or partially blocked by fatty deposits. When the blood supply is cut off or reduced, oxygen and other needed supplies can't get through. The heart muscle can die. Also called a myocardial infarction.

Hormone: A chemical produced in one part of the body and released into the blood to trigger or regulate particular functions of the body. For example, insulin is a hormone made in the pancreas that tells other cells when to use glucose for energy. Synthetic hormones, made for use as medicines, can be the same as or different from those made in the body.

Hyperglycemia: Higher-than-normal blood glucose level. Fasting hyperglycemia is blood glucose above a desirable level after a person has fasted for at least eight hours. Postprandial hyperglycemia is blood glucose above a desirable level one to two hours after a person has eaten.

Hypertension: A condition present when blood flows through the blood vessels with a force greater than normal. Also called high blood pressure. Hypertension can strain the heart, damage blood vessels, and increase the risk of heart attack, stroke, kidney problems, and death.

Hypoglycemia: Also called low blood glucose, this condition occurs when one's blood glucose is lower than normal, defined as below 70 mg/dl. Signs include hunger, nervousness, shakiness, perspiration, dizziness, light-headedness, sleepiness, and confusion. If left untreated, hypoglycemia may lead to unconsciousness. Hypoglycemia is treated by consuming a carbohydrate-rich food such as glucose tablets or fruit juice. Hypoglycemia may also be treated with an injection of glucagon if the person is unconscious or unable to swallow.

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