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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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P - S

P

Pancreas: An organ in the body that makes the hormones insulin and amylin in the beta cells, glucagon in the alpha cells, and enzymes for digestion. The pancreas is located behind the lower part of the stomach and is about the size of a hand.

Peripheral artery disease (PAD): An organ in the body that makes insulin and amylin in the beta cells, glucagon in the alpha cells, and enzymes for digestion. The pancreas is located behind the lower part of the stomach and is about the size of a hand.

Pharmacist: A health care professional who prepares and distributes medications. Pharmacists also give information about medicines. A pharmacist who has a Pharm.D. degree has a doctorate in pharmacy obtained through additional education and experience.

Podiatrist: A health care professional who helps people prevent or treat foot problems. Regular foot examinations can help PWDs keep their feet healthy, and early treatment for problems can minimize additional complications.

Polycystic ovary syndrome: A medical condition in women that includes high levels of male hormones. PCOS increases the risk of irregular or absent menstrual cycles, infertility, obesity, ovarian cysts, heart disease, insulin resistance, and type 2 diabetes.

Postprandial blood glucose: The blood glucose level one to two hours after a person starts to eat.

Prediabetes: A condition in which blood glucose levels are higher than normal but are not high enough for a diagnosis of diabetes. People with prediabetes are at increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. Other names for prediabetes are impaired glucose tolerance and impaired fasting glucose.

Protein: Protein is one of the three main nutrients in food. Foods that provide protein include meat, poultry, fish, cheese, milk, dairy products, eggs, and dried beans. Protein is used in the body for cell structure, hormones such as insulin, and other functions.

Proteinuria: A condition in which the urine contains large amounts of protein, a sign that the kidneys are not working properly.

PWD: An abbreviation for people with diabetes that helps avoid the use of the term "diabetic" to describe a person living with diabetes.

R

Rapid-acting insulin: A category of insulin that is the fastest-acting insulin available today. It starts working in about 15 minutes, has its greatest impact on lowering blood glucose in 45 to 90 minutes, and has a duration of three to five hours. Three rapid-acting insulins are approved for use in the United States.

Repaglinide: An oral blood glucose-lowering medication used to manage type 2 diabetes. Repaglinide lowers blood glucose by helping the pancreas make more insulin right after meals. Repaglinide belongs to the category of medicines called meglitinides.

Retinal hemorrhages: Bleeding blood vessels in the retina that can cause protein deposits, or exudates. Laser surgery on the retina is required to prevent blindness. Retinal hemorrhage is a common form of diabetic retinopathy.

S

Saturated fat: A type of fat in foods that can increase the risk of heart disease. Saturated fat is found in meat, poultry skin, butter, lard, shortening, and all milk and dairy products except fat-free versions. Trans fats are considered a form of saturated fat.

Sharps container: A container for the disposal of used needles and syringes; often made of hard plastic so needles cannot penetrate the container. Visit safeneedledisposal.org to learn more.

Stroke: A condition in which the blood supply to the brain is suddenly cut off. This is caused by a blockage or the bursting of a blood vessel in the brain or neck. A stroke can cause one or more areas of the brain and/or brain function to be damaged.

Sucrose: The most common form of sugar made from glucose and fructose. Known as table sugar or white sugar, it is found naturally in sugarcane and beets.

Sugar alcohols: A category of sweeteners that produce a smaller rise in blood glucose than other sources of carbohydrate. They're also known as polyols. Their calorie content is about 2 calories per gram. Names of sugar alcohols include erythritol, hydrogenated starch hydrolysates, isomalt, lactitol, maltitol, mannitol, sorbitol, and xylitol.

Sulfonylurea: The first and oldest category of oral blood glucose-lowering medications for type 2 diabetes that lowers blood glucose by helping the pancreas make more insulin and by helping the body better use the insulin it makes. Also see glipizide, glimepiride, and glyburide.

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