A1c test — A lab-drawn test that shows the three-month average of blood sugars.
ACE Inhibitors — A type of drug used to lower blood pressure. Studies indicated it may prevent or slow the progression of kidney disease in people with diabetes.
Adult-onset diabetes — Now known as Type 2 diabetes, in this type of diabetes the body still produces insulin but has trouble using it. It can be controlled by diet and exercise.
Advocacy — Speaking out and pushing for changes in government, in schools, and throughout the world.
American Diabetes Association (ADA) —
National group that raises money and awareness for Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes; Web site:
Antibody — A large Y-shaped protein used by the immune system to identify and neutralize foreign objects like bacteria and viruses. In diabetes, antibodies get confused and attack the beta cells rather than protecting them.
Autoimmune diabetes — Another name for Type 1 diabetes; the body destroys its own islet-producing cells and loses the ability to produce insulin.
Autoimmunity — The immune response an organism launches against its own cells or tissues.
Basal rates — A continuous twenty-four-hour set pattern of insulin delivery, usually on an insulin pump; also called background insulin.
Beta cells — Insulin-producing cells in the pancreas.
Blood glucose — The main sugar that the body makes from food, and the main source of energy for cells; it is carried through the bloodstream.
Blood glucose level — The concentration of glucose in the blood, measured in milligrams per deciliter in the United States.
Blood glucose meter — A hand-held machine that uses a drop of blood to measure blood glucose level in a person.
Blood sugar — The level of glucose in the blood as measured by lab test or on a meter.
Bolus — An amount of insulin given at one time either to lower blood sugar or to cover the carbs consumed at a meal.
Carb bolus — An amount of insulin given to match the food eaten.
Carbohydrates, or carbs — One of the main constituents of food; composed mainly of sugar and starches.
Carb ratio — The equation that determines how much insulin is needed per gram of carbohydrates. For instance, an average carb ratio is 1 unit of insulin to 15 grams of carb.
Cannula — The short tubing inserted into the body as part of a pump site; attached to tubing, it delivers insulin to the body from the pump.
Certified Diabetes Educator (CDE) — A health care professional certified by the American Association of Diabetes Educators to teach people how to manage diabetes.
C-peptide — A by-product of insulin production that can be measured to see if a person's body is still producing insulin at all.
CSII — Continuous subcutaneous insulin infusion; a long term for pumping insulin.
Dawn phenomenon — An early-morning rise in blood glucose levels caused by a normal surge in growth hormones at this time of day.
Diabetes Control and Complications Trial (DCCT) — A nine-year study by the National Institutes of Health that showed that tight control improved the lives of people with diabetes.
Diabetic ketoacidosis — Severe high blood sugar in which the body searches out food from muscle and fat, thus over-spilling ketones. This condition requires emergency help.
Edmonton Protocol — A method of islet cell transplantation that uses more islet cells and a less-toxic combination of drugs to suppress the immune system. First used on adult patients with severe Type 1 diabetes at the University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada, in June 2000, the protocol provides “proof of principle” that islet transplantation can potentially work.
Endocrinologist — A medical doctor who treats people who have problems with their endocrine system. The pancreas is an endocrine gland; diabetes is an endocrine disorder.
Glucagon — A hormone made by the pancreas that raises blood sugar levels.
Available in shot form, it is injected during severe lows to avoid seizures.
Glucose — A simple sugar found in the body. Also known as dextrose, it is the body's main source of energy.
Glycosylated hemoglobin — The full name of A1c.
Honeymoon period — A period of time after diagnosis when the pancreas still produces some insulin. Can last weeks or years.
Humalog — Short-acting insulin used to cover meals and snacks; sometimes used in an insulin pump.
Hyperglycemia — A higher-than-normal level of glucose in the blood. Symptoms include frequent urination, excessive thirst, and weight loss.
Hypoglycemia — A lower-than-normal level of glucose in the blood. Symptoms include shakiness, weakness, pallor, hunger. It must be treated with carbs immediately.
Infusion set — The catheter, cannula, and insertion set used to connect an insulin pump to the body.
Insulin — A hormone secreted by the beta cells of the pancreas that helps the body convert glucose to energy in the cells.
Insulin pump — A small, computerized, and programmable device about the size of a beeper that can be used to deliver insulin to the body in place of injections.
Insulin resistance — Reduced insulin sensitivity by cells; usually the underlying cause of Type 2 diabetes.
Intermediate-acting insulin — An insulin such as NPH that peaks multiple times and stays in the body for at least twelve hours.
Islet cell — The cells in the pancreas that produce insulin. Pronounced “eye-let.”
Islet cell transplantation — A still-experimental process of taking islets from a cadaver and, via a portal injection, transferring them into the body of someone with diabetes.
Ketoacidosis — A serious condition in which the body does not have enough insulin and eats extra fat, spilling too many acidic ketones. Symptoms are thirst, frequent urination, and vomiting. This condition can cause coma and death.
Ketones — Acidic by-products of fat metabolism.
Lantus — A long-acting, nonpeaking insulin that stays in the body for as long as twenty-four hours, it is most often combined in use with a fast-acting insulin.
Logbook — A book or file used to track a child's blood sugar readings, food eaten, and activities.
Microalbuminuria test — A urine test that checks how the kidneys are working.
Neuropathy — Nerve damage caused by diabetes, usually at the extremities such as the feet and toes.
Novolog — A fast-acting insulin that can be used to cover meals and snacks, it stays in the body only about three hours.
Pancreas — The gland near the stomach that secretes insulin, glucagon, and digestive enzymes.
Pediatric Endocrinologist — An endocrinologist trained and licensed in the care of children with diabetes and other endocrine disorders.
Postprandial tests A check of blood sugars about two hours after meals to see how the food made the blood sugar spike.
Reservoir — The plastic part of an insulin pump that holds the insulin.
Retinopathy — Renal eye disease, or damage to the nerves in the back of the eye caused by complications of diabetes and now very treatable with laser surgery.
Somogyi effect — A high blood sugar caused by a “bounce back” after an extreme low blood sugar.
Type 1 diabetes — Insulin-dependent diabetes in which the body's immune system has attacked the islet cells of the pancreas and the body makes little or no insulin. Replacement insulin is necessary for this type of diabetes.
Type 2 diabetes — A metabolic disorder in which the body still makes insulin but has trouble using it. It can be controlled by diet and exercise but does sometimes need insulin and other medications. Type 2 accounts for 95 percent of diabetes cases.