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Diabetes Dictionary: K - O
The words are listed in alphabetical order. Some words have many meanings; only those meanings that relate to diabetes are included. Words that appear in bold italic are defined elsewhere in the dictionary. A term will refer the reader to another definition only when the second definition gives additional information about a topic that is directly related to the first term.
Information in this dictionary is not a substitute for your health care professional's advice.
A B C D E F G H I J K L
see diabetic ketoacidosis.
a chemical produced when there is a shortage of insulin in the blood and the body breaks down body fat for energy. High levels of ketones can lead to diabetic ketoacidosis and coma. Sometimes referred to as ketone bodies.
a condition occurring when ketones are present in the urine, a warning sign of diabetic ketoacidosis.
a ketone buildup in the body that may lead to diabetic ketoacidosis. Signs of ketosis are nausea, vomiting, and stomach pain.
a chronic condition in which the body retains fluid and harmful wastes build up because the kidneys no longer work properly. A person with kidney failure needs dialysis or a kidney transplant. Also called end-stage renal (REE-nul) disease or ESRD.
the two bean-shaped organs that filter wastes from the blood and form urine. The kidneys are located near the middle of the back. They send urine to the bladder.
Kussmaul (KOOS-mall) breathing:
the rapid, deep, and labored breathing of people who have diabetic ketoacidosis.[Top]
see latent autoimmune diabetes in adults.
a spring-loaded device used to prick the skin with a small needle to obtain a drop of blood for blood glucose monitoring.
laser surgery treatment:
a type of therapy that uses a strong beam of light to treat a damaged area. The beam of light is called a laser. A laser is sometimes used to seal blood vessels in the eye of a person with diabetes. See photocoagulation.
latent autoimmune diabetes in adults (LADA):
a condition in which type 1 diabetes develops in adults.
LDL cholesterol (kuh-LESS-tuh-rawl), stands for low-density lipoprotein (LIP-oh-PRO-teen) cholesterol:
a fat found in the blood that takes cholesterol around the body to where it is needed for cell repair and also deposits it on the inside of artery walls. Sometimes called "bad" cholesterol.
lente (LEN-tay) insulin:
an intermediate-acting insulin. On average, lente insulin starts to lower blood glucose levels within 1 to 2 hours after injection. It has its strongest effect 8 to 12 hours after injection but keeps working for 18 to 24 hours after injection. Also called L insulin.
limited joint mobility:
a condition in which the joints swell and the skin of the hand becomes thick, tight, and waxy, making the joints less able to move. It may affect the fingers and arms as well as other joints in the body.
a term for fat in the body. Lipids can be broken down by the body and used for energy.
a blood test that measures total cholesterol, triglycerides, and HDL cholesterol. LDL cholesterol is then calculated from the results. A lipid profile is one measure of a person's risk of cardiovascular disease.
loss of fat under the skin resulting in small dents. Lipoatrophy may be caused by repeated injections of insulin in the same spot.
defect in the breaking down or building up of fat below the surface of the skin, resulting in lumps or small dents in the skin surface. (See lipohypertrophy or lipoatrophy.) Lipodystrophy may be caused by repeated injections of insulin in the same spot.
buildup of fat below the surface of the skin, causing lumps. Lipohypertrophy may be caused by repeated injections of insulin in the same spot.
lispro (LYZ-proh) insulin:
a rapid-acting insulin. On average, lispro insulin starts to lower blood glucose within 5 minutes after injection. It has its strongest effect 30 minutes to 1 hour after injection but keeps working for 3 hours after injection.
an organ in the body that changes food into energy, removes alcohol and poisons from the blood, and makes bile, a substance that breaks down fats and helps rid the body of wastes.
a type of insulin that starts to lower blood glucose within 4 to 6 hours after injection and has its strongest effect 10 to 18 hours after injection. See ultralente insulin.
low blood sugar:
low-density lipoprotein cholesterol:
see LDL cholesterol.[Top]
abnormally large; in diabetes, refers to abnormally large babies that may be born to women with diabetes.
macrovascular (mack-roh-VASK-yoo-ler) disease:
disease of the large blood vessels, such as those found in the heart. Lipids and blood clots build up in the large blood vessels and can cause atherosclerosis, coronary heart disease, stroke, and peripheral vascular disease.
the part of the retina in the eye used for reading and seeing fine detail.
macular (MACK-yoo-lur) edema (eh-DEE-mah):
swelling of the macula.
maturity-onset diabetes of the young (MODY):
a kind of type 2 diabetes that accounts for 1 to 5 percent of people with diabetes. Of the six forms identified, each is caused by a defect in a single gene.
a class of oral medicine for type 2 diabetes that lowers blood glucose by helping the pancreas make more insulin right after meals. (Generic name: repaglinide.)
the tendency of several conditions to occur together, including obesity, insulin resistance, diabetes or pre-diabetes, hypertension, and high lipids.
the term for the way cells chemically change food so that it can be used to store or use energy and make the proteins, fats, and sugars needed by the body.
an oral medicine used to treat type 2 diabetes. It lowers blood glucose by reducing the amount of glucose produced by the liver and helping the body respond better to the insulin made in the pancreas. Belongs to the class of medicines called biguanides. (Brand names: Glucophage, Glucophage XR; an ingredient in Glucovance.)
milligrams (MILL-ih-grams) per deciliter (DESS-ih-lee-tur), a unit of measure that shows the concentration of a substance in a specific amount of fluid. In the United States, blood glucose test results are reported as mg/dL. Medical journals and other countries use millimoles per liter (mmol/L). To convert to mg/dL from mmol/L, multiply mmol/L by 18. Example: 10 mmol/L × 18 = 180 mg/dL.
small amounts of the protein called albumin in the urine detectable with a special lab test.
a small swelling that forms on the side of tiny blood vessels. These small swellings may break and allow blood to leak into nearby tissue. People with diabetes may get microaneurysms in the retina of the eye.
microvascular (MY-kro-VASK-yoo-ler) disease:
disease of the smallest blood vessels, such as those found in the eyes, nerves, and kidneys. The walls of the vessels become abnormally thick but weak. Then they bleed, leak protein, and slow the flow of blood to the cells.
an oral medicine used to treat type 2 diabetes. It blocks the enzymes that digest starches in food. The result is a slower and lower rise in blood glucose throughout the day, especially right after meals. Belongs to the class of medicines called alpha-glucosidase inhibitors. (Brand name: Glyset.)
a combination of two types of insulin in one injection. Usually a rapid- or short-acting insulin is combined with a longer acting insulin (such as NPH insulin) to provide both short-term and long-term control of blood glucose levels.
millimoles per liter, a unit of measure that shows the concentration of a substance in a specific amount of fluid. In most of the world, except for the United States, blood glucose test results are reported as mmol/L. In the United States, milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) is used. To convert to mmol/L from mg/dL, divide mg/dL by 18. Example: 180 mg/dL ÷ 18 = 10 mmol/L.
see maturity-onset diabetes of the young.
see blood glucose meter.
a short piece of nylon, like a hairbrush bristle, mounted on a wand. To check sensitivity of the nerves in the foot, the doctor touches the filament to the bottom of the foot.
neuropathy affecting a single nerve.
myocardial (my-oh-KAR-dee-ul) infarction (in-FARK-shun):
an interruption in the blood supply to the heart because of narrowed or blocked blood vessels. Also called a heart attack.[Top]
an oral medicine used to treat type 2 diabetes. It lowers blood glucose levels by helping the pancreas make more insulin right after meals. Belongs to the class of medicines called D-phenylalanine derivatives. (Brand name: Starlix.)
necrobiosis (NEK-roh-by-OH-sis) lipoidica (lih-POY-dik-ah) diabeticorum (DY-uh-bet-ih-KOR-um):
a skin condition usually on the lower part of the legs. Lesions can be small or extend over a large area. They are usually raised, yellow, and waxy in appearance and often have a purple border.
the growth of new, small blood vessels. In the retina, this may lead to loss of vision or blindness.
a doctor who treats people who have kidney problems.
disease of the kidneys. Hyperglycemia and hypertension can damage the kidneys' glomeruli. When the kidneys are damaged, protein leaks out of the kidneys into the urine. Damaged kidneys can no longer remove waste and extra fluids from the bloodstream.
nerve conduction studies:
tests used to measure for nerve damage; one way to diagnose neuropathy.
a doctor who specializes in problems of the nervous system, such as neuropathy.
disease of the nervous system. The three major forms in people with diabetes are peripheral neuropathy, autonomic neuropathy, and mononeuropathy. The most common form is peripheral neuropathy, which affects mainly the legs and feet.
see noninsulin-dependent diabetes mellitus.
noninsulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM):
former term for type 2 diabetes.
noninvasive (NON-in-VAY-siv) blood glucose monitoring:
measuring blood glucose without pricking the finger to obtain a blood sample.
an intermediate-acting insulin; NPH stands for neutral protamine Hagedorn. On average, NPH insulin starts to lower blood glucose within 1 to 2 hours after injection. It has its strongest effect 6 to 10 hours after injection but keeps working about 10 hours after injection. Also called N insulin.
a person with training in nutrition; may or may not have specialized training and qualifications. See dietitian.[Top]
a condition in which a greater than normal amount of fat is in the body; more severe than overweight; having a body mass index of 30 or more.
a doctor who treats pregnant women and delivers babies.
see oral glucose tolerance test.
a medical doctor who diagnoses and treats all eye diseases and eye disorders. Opthalmologists can also prescribe glasses and contact lenses.
a health care professional who dispenses glasses and lenses. An optician also makes and fits contact lenses.
a primary eye care provider who prescribes glasses and contact lenses. Optometrists can diagnose and treat certain eye conditions and diseases.
oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT):
a test to diagnose pre-diabetes and diabetes. The oral glucose tolerance test is given by a health care professional after an overnight fast. A blood sample is taken, then the patient drinks a high-glucose beverage. Blood samples are taken at intervals for 2 to 3 hours. Test results are compared with a standard and show how the body uses glucose over time.
oral hypoglycemic (hy-po-gly-SEE-mik) agents:
medicines taken by mouth by people with type 2 diabetes to keep blood glucose levels as close to normal as possible. Classes of oral hypoglycemic agents are alpha-glucosidase inhibitors, biguanides, D-phenylalanine derivatives, meglitinides, sulfonylureas, and thiazolidinediones.
an above-normal body weight; having a body mass index of 25 to 29.9.[Top]
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