Diabetes Glossary


A blood test that measures average blood glucose over the past 2 to 3 months and is the best way to measure overall glucose control. It should be measured 2 to 4 times a year and the goal is less than 7%.


Any substance that reduces oxidative damage (damage due to oxygen) such as that caused by free radicals. Free radicals are highly reactive chemicals that attack molecules by capturing electrons and thus modifying chemical structures.


The main source of fuel for the body. Carbohydrate includes starches and sugars and is found in bread, pasta, fruits, vegetables, milk, and sweets. Carbs are broken down into a sugar called glucose.

Carbohydrate counting

A meal planning method commonly used by people with diabetes to plan their food and meal choices. Carbohydrate counting helps one achieve a balance between the amount of carbohydrate foods eaten and the available insulin.

Cell Membrane

The outer covering of the cell consisting of a lipid bilayer with proteins embedded in it.


Are a class of enzymes in the body specifically dependent on copper for life. This group affects a diverse group bodily functions. According to the Linus Pauling Institute, lysyl oxidase creates the marriage between collagen and elastin to create connective tissues. Ferroxidases I and II oxidizes iron to be included in red blood cells. The central nervous system, and hair, skin and eye pigmentation are also affected.

Diabetes Educator

A healthcare person who has the skill and knowledge to teach a person with diabetes how to manage the condition. Diabetes educators may be doctors, nurses, dietitians, mental health or fitness clinicians. Some also have the credential CDE (Certified Diabetes Educator).


A doctor who specializes in diseases of the endocrine system such as diabetes.

Fasting Blood Glucose Test

A blood test in which a sample of your blood is drawn after an overnight fast to measure the amount of glucose in your blood.

Free Radical

An atom or group of atoms that has at least one unpaired electron and is therefore unstable and highly reactive. In animal tissues, free radicals can damage cells and are believed to accelerate the progression of cancer, cardiovascular disease, and age-related diseases.


A simple form of sugar that is created when the body’s digestive processes break down the food we eat. Glucose is the body’s main source of energy.

Glucose meter

A device that measures one’s blood glucose levels.

Hypoglycemia – low blood glucose

A blood glucose below 80 mg/dl

Hyperglycemia – high blood glucose

A blood glucose level above 100 mg/dl


A hormone made in the pancreas that helps glucose pass into the cells where it is used to create energy for the body.

Insulin Resistance

A condition that makes it harder for the cells to properly use insulin.

Lifestyle Changes

Changes made to one’s eating habits and physical activity in order to control blood glucose.

Metabolic Syndrome

A combination of medical conditions that places one at risk for cardiovascular diseases and type 2 diabetes. Diagnostic criteria include the presence of three or more of the following conditions:
· Abdominal obesity (waist circumference: ≥40 inches [102 cm] for men, ≥35 inches [88 cm] for women)
· Elevated triglycerides (≥150 mg/dL)
· High blood pressure (≥130/85 mmHg)
· Glucose intolerance/insulin resistance (fasting blood glucose ≥110 mg/dL)
· Decreased HDL cholesterol (

Oxidative Stress

The harmful condition that occurs when there is an excess of free radicals, a decrease in antioxidant levels, or both.


A small gland located below and just behind the stomach that makes a specific kind of hormone called insulin.


A condition in which either your fasting or two-hour post-meal blood glucose levels are higher than normal but not high enough for a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes. Studies show that most people with pre-diabetes will develop type 2 diabetes within 10 years if they don’t change their lifestyle. They also have a higher risk of developing cardiovascular disease.


Managing one’s diabetes by checking blood glucose, and being aware of food intake, physical activity and medication and how each of these elements work together in order to keep blood glucose in good control.

SMBG (self-monitoring of blood glucose)

Checking your blood glucose with a blood glucose meter.