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.

T - Z


Thiazolidinedione: A category of oral blood glucose-lowering medication for type 2 diabetes that helps decrease insulin resistance in the liver and muscles, which in turns helps lower blood glucose levels.

Trans fat: A type of fat in foods that increases the risk of heart disease. Trans fat is produced when liquid oils are turned into solids through a process called hydrogenation. Foods with trans fat include those listing hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated fat on the label, such as crackers, snack foods, commercially produced baked goods, and some stick margarines.

Triglyceride: The storage form of fat in the body. High triglyceride levels may occur when blood glucose is out of control. It's common for people with prediabetes or type 2 diabetes to have elevated triglycerides.

Type 1 diabetes: A condition characterized by high blood glucose levels caused by the lack of insulin. It is an autoimmune disease in which the body's immune system attacks the insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas and destroys them. Type 1 diabetes develops most often in young people but also occurs throughout adulthood. Also see LADA.

Type 2 diabetes: A condition characterized by high blood glucose levels caused by either a lack of sufficient insulin production (insulin deficiency) or the body's inability to use the insulin it still makes efficiently (insulin resistance). Type 2 diabetes develops most often in middle-age and older adults but can appear in children, teens, and young people, especially if they are overweight.

U - W

United Kingdom Prospective Diabetes Study (UKPDS): A British study conducted from 1977 to 1997 in people with type 2 diabetes. The study showed that type 2 diabetes is a progressive disease in which over time the body makes a dwindling supply of insulin. To manage blood glucose levels over time, a PWD type 2 needs an increasing amount and number of blood glucose-lowering medications and eventually insulin. With good control over time, the UKPDS showed a lower risk of eye disease and kidney damage. A related study in PWDs type 2 and hypertension showed those who lowered their blood pressure also reduced their risk of stroke, eye damage, and death from long-term complications.

Urea: A waste product found in the blood that results from the normal breakdown of protein in the liver. Urea is normally removed from the blood by the kidneys and then excreted in the urine.

Vitrectomy: Surgery to restore sight in which the surgeon removes the cloudy vitreous humor in the eye and replaces it with a salt solution.

VLDL cholesterol: Stands for very-low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, a form of cholesterol in the blood. High levels may be related to cardiovascular disease.

Wound care: Steps that must be taken to ensure a wound, such as a foot ulcer, heals correctly. People with diabetes need to take special precautions when they develop a wound to make sure it heals quickly and properly without becoming infected.