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.


I - L


Impaired fasting glucose (IFG): A condition in which a fasting blood glucose test shows a level of glucose higher than normal but not high enough for a diagnosis of diabetes. IFG, also called prediabetes, is a blood glucose level of 100-125 mg/dl or an A1C level of 5.7-6.4 percent. People with prediabetes are at increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.

Impaired glucose tolerance (IGT): A condition in which blood glucose levels are higher than normal but are not high enough for a diagnosis of diabetes. IGT, also called prediabetes, is a blood glucose level of 140-199 mg/dl two hours after eating. People with prediabetes are at increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.

Incretin mimetic: A type of injectable blood glucose-lowering medicine for diabetes that mimics the effect of incretin hormones, a type of gastrointestinal hormone. This medicine helps food move more slowly through the stomach and helps the pancreas make more insulin. Also called GLP-1 analog.

Insulin: A hormone produced and secreted from the beta cells of the pancreas that helps the body use glucose for energy. When the body cannot make enough insulin, a person can take insulin by injection or by using an insulin pump.

Insulin resistance: The body's inability to respond to and use the insulin it produces. Insulin resistance is linked to obesity, hypertension, and high levels of fat in the blood.

Islet cell autoantibodies (ICAs): Proteins found in the blood of people newly diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. They are also found in people who may be developing type 1 diabetes. The presence of ICAs indicates the body's immune system has been damaging beta cells in the pancreas. The antibodies that are routinely tested for in diabetes include IAA, IA-2A, ICA512, and GAD65 (also called GAD or GADA).


Juvenile diabetes: The former term for insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM), or type 1 diabetes.

Ketone: A chemical produced when there is a shortage of insulin in the blood and the body breaks down body fat for energy. High levels of ketones can lead to diabetic ketoacidosis and coma. Sometimes referred to as ketone bodies.

Lancet: A spring-loaded device used to prick the skin (typically on a finger) with a small needle to obtain a drop of blood for blood glucose monitoring.

Latent autoimmune diabetes in adults (LADA): A type of diabetes that most closely resembles type 1 diabetes but is diagnosed after age 30. It typically requires insulin for blood glucose control. Some experts believe LADA is a slowly developing kind of type 1 diabetes. People typically have antibodies against the insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas.

LDL cholesterol: Stands for low-density lipoprotein cholesterol; a fat found in the blood that takes cholesterol around the body to where it is needed for cell repair and also deposits it on the inside of artery walls. Sometimes called bad cholesterol, this is the lipid level for which a lower number is better.

Lipid profile: A blood test that measures total cholesterol, triglycerides, and HDL cholesterol. LDL cholesterol is then calculated from the results. A lipid profile is one measure of a person's risk of cardiovascular disease.