Diabetes Lingo

Since diabetes, especially Type 1 Diabetes, can be a little confusing to understand, I put together a little glossary full of lingo and terms.

Diabetes: Diabetes, often referred to by doctors as diabetes mellitus, describes a group of metabolic diseases in which the person’s hormones are unable to regulate the amount of glucose necessary for the body. This is either because insulin production is inadequate or non-existent, or because the body’s cells do not respond properly to insulin, or both.

Type 1 Diabetes (T1D): T1D occurs when the body’s own immune system destroys the insulin-producing cells of the pancreas (called beta cells).

Normally, the body’s immune system fights off foreign invaders like viruses or bacteria. But for unknown reasons, in people with T1D, the immune system attacks various cells in the body. This results in a complete deficiency of the insulin hormone.

Blood Glucose / Blood Sugar: A blood glucose test measures the amount of a type of sugar, called glucose, in your blood. Glucose comes from carbohydrate foods. It is the main source of energy used by the body.

**This is why I, and others with diabetes, count how many carbohydrates we consume rather than sugar. I count my carbohydrates to calculate how much insulin I need.

Insulin: Insulin is a hormone that helps your body’s cells use the glucose. Insulin is produced in the pancreas and released into the blood when the amount of glucose in the blood rises.

**Since my body no longer produces insulin, I inject myself with insulin to convert my blood glucose to energy. (This keeps me alive.)

  • Novolog and Humalog: These are both fast-acting insulin used by those with diabetes for when they eat to bring their blood sugar levels down, or if they need to quickly lower their blood sugar levels. (I use Novolog in my insulin pump.)
  • Lantus: This is a 24-hour long-lasting insulin, and it is normally used by those who do not use an insulin pump.

AIC: The hemoglobin A1C test, also called HBA1C, is an important blood test that shows an average of one’s blood sugar control over the past 2 to 3 months. This helps to gauge how well a person’s diabetes is being managed.

Other terms…

Endo: Endocrinologist, my diabetes doctor

Hypo: Hypoglycemia, extremely low blood sugar

Hyper: Hyperglycemia, extremely high blood sugar


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