Chapter 20: Common Terms :: Nationwide Children's Hospital

Common Terms

Acanthosis nigricans – darkened area on the neck or in the armpit; this means there may be insulin resistance

Acidosis – unhealthy elevated level of acid in blood; in diabetes, it happens when ketones are in blood

Acute complication – a problem that occurs in a short period of time; is fixed in a short period of time

Cholesterol – a type of fat that the body needs in small amounts, but elevated levels can help cause heart disease

Chronic complication – health change that happens after many years; in some cases can be reversed; but often is a permanent health change

Complex carbohydrate – Food with a slow release form of carbohydrate

Dawn phenomenon – rise in blood glucose from evening to morning caused by hormone production during the night; results in insulin resistance

DKA – Diabetes Ketoacidosis; life-threatening acute complication of diabetes; caused when the body is not able to use glucose for energy

Fasting – state of the body when it has been at least 6 hours since last eating or drinking; certain lab work needs to be done when a person is fasting

Glucagon – hormone that is released by the pancreas when blood glucose is too low; can also be given by injection; lets stored glucose be released from the liver into the blood

Glucose – sugar that is present in the blood after eating; the body uses glucose for energy

Glycogen – stored form of glucose; extra glucose is stored in the liver as glycogen.

Hemoglobin A1C (Hgb A1C) – lab test that measures the amount of glucose attached to hemoglobin in the body; gives an idea of the average glucose levels over the last 3 months

Heredity – Traits (ex. color of eyes); likeliness to get certain health conditions that are passed from parent to child

Honeymoon phase – Period of time soon after the diagnosis of diabetes when the body temporarily makes a small amount of insulin

Hormone – chemical that is made in a part of the body that affects other areas of the body; insulin and glucagon are hormones

Hyperglycemia – High blood glucose

Hyperlipidemia – High levels of fat (lipids) in the blood

Hypoglycemia – Low blood glucose

Insulin – a hormone made by the beta cells in the pancreas; lets the body use glucose for energy

Insulin resistance – a condition in which the body cannot use insulin as well as it normally does; found in people with type 2 diabetes; may be found in people with unhealthy weight

Intramuscular injection – injection given into the muscle

Ketoacidosis – see DKA

Ketones – produced when the body breaks down fat; can lead to ketoacidosis

Ketonuria – ketones in the urine

Kussmaul respirations – rapid, shallow breathing; present in ketoacidosis; the body’s attempt to restore acid base balance in the blood

Lancet – a fine, sharp needle device; used to puncture the skin to get a drop of blood

Lipid – another word for fat; two types of lipids are triglycerides and cholesterol

Pancreas – a gland behind the liver; one of its functions is to make insulin

Proteinuria – protein in the urine; may be an early sign of kidney disease

Renal – relates to the kidneys

Simple Carbohydrate – food that is made of rapid-release form of carbohydrates

Subcutaneous injection – injection into the fatty tissue between the muscle and the skin

Triglyceride – a kind of fat that is carried in the blood and stored in the body


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