Common Terms

Do you shop for diabetic medical supplies for you or a loved one? You may have heard some of these terms before now. If you haven’t yet, it’s likely that you will if you or a loved one is diabetic. Learn more information about diabetes and diabetes medical supplies by reviewing our glossary of terms below:

  • Basal rate: The amount of insulin required to manage normal daily blood glucose fluctuations
  • Blood glucose monitor: a device designed to be used at home for testing how much sugar is in your blood
  • Gestational diabetes: A high blood sugar level that starts or is first recognized during pregnancy
  • Glucose: A simple sugar found in the blood. It is the body’s main source of energy; also known as “dextrose.”
  • Hyperglycemia: High blood sugar.
  • Hypoglycemia: Low blood sugar.
  • Insulin: A hormone produced by the pancreas that helps the body use sugar for energy. The beta cells of the pancreas make insulin.
  • Insulin pump: A small, computerized diabetic medical device — about the size of a small cell phone — that is worn on a belt or put in a pocket. Insulin pumps have a small flexible tube with a fine needle on the end. The needle is inserted under the skin of the abdomen and taped in place. A carefully measured, steady flow of insulin is released into the body.
  • Insulin resistance: When the effect of insulin on muscle, fat, and liver cells becomes less effective; this effect occurs with both insulin produced in the body and with insulin injections. Therefore higher levels of insulin are needed to lower the blood sugar.
  • Insulin shock: A severe condition that occurs when the level of blood sugar drops quickly
  • Neuropathy: Nerve damage
  • Pancreas: An organ behind the lower part of the stomach that is about the size of a hand. It makes insulin so the body can use sugar for energy.
  • Peripheral neuropathy: A type of nerve damage most commonly affecting the feet and legs.
  • Renal: Relating to the kidneys
  • Sugar: A class of carbohydrates that tastes sweet. Sugar is a quick and easy fuel for the body to use. Some types of sugar are lactose, glucose, fructose, and sucrose.
  • Triglyceride: Fats carried in the blood from the food we eat
  • Type 1 diabetes: A type of diabetes in which the insulin-producing cells (called beta cells) of the pancreas are damaged. People with type 1 diabetes produce little or no insulin, so glucose cannot get into the body’s cells for use as energy. This causes blood sugar to rise. People with type 1 diabetes must use insulin injections to control their blood sugar.
  • Type 2 diabetes: A type of diabetes in which the insulin produced is either not enough or the person’s body does not respond normally to the amount present. Therefore, glucose in the blood cannot get into the body’s cells for use as energy. This results in an increase in the level of glucose (sugar) in the blood.

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