Common Diabetes Terms Defined

by mratner

English: Diagram shows insulin release from th...

English: Diagram shows insulin release from the Pancreas and how this lowers blood sugar leves. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today we’re covering some basic terms. Many of these terms, terms which EVERY diabetic should know, were never explained to me. And with 90% of all Diabetics being Type 2, and most diabetes education classes be designed for Type 1, there’s a good chance that if you have diabetes, these haven’t been explained to you either. Let’s get started:

Bolus: A bolus is the dose of insulin give just prior to a meal (usually 15-20 minutes) to cover the carb count within the meal.

Basal: Basal refers to the “background” insulin. Basal insulin is a long-acting insulin that covers the insulin necessary to cover the glucose that your body naturally produces and uses throughout the day.

A1C: A test that measures average blood glucose levels for the previous three months.

Insulin/Bolus on Board (IOB, BOB): IOB or BOB refers to how much active insulin is in your system after a bolus. How long fast-acting insulin lasts in each person’s body varies and you must work with your endo and diabetes educator to determine IOB as well as correction factors and insulin to carb ratios.

Correction Factor: The amount of fast-acting insulin that covers a set decrease in BGL. For example, 1 unit of fast-acting insulin will bring my BGL down 50 points. Again, cover this with your doctor.

Insulin to Carb Ratio (I:C): This is the how many grams of carbs by covered by 1 unit of insulin.

Blood Glucose Value (BGL): The amount of glucose in a set amount of blood. It is measured in mg/dL.

Diabetic Ketoacidosis (DKA): An accumulation of ketones in the blood. Meters are available to check for ketones. This is a no-joke condition. If it is not treated, it can be fatal.

Hypoglycemia: Low blood sugar under 70 mg/dL.

Hyperglycemia: High blood sugar. Goals are different for everyone but as a rule, BGL levels should remain between 70 mg/dL and 130 mg/dL. Don’t be discouraged if your numbers run higher than this because they will. Set range limits with your endo and correct as needed.

Insulin Resistance: An inability to utilize available insulin in the body.

Lancet: A needle designed to fit into lancing device.

Lancing device: A spring loaded mechanism which contains a replaceable lancet that allows an easy draw of blood for use with a glucometer.

mg/dL: milligrams over deciliter, the measurement used to read the amount of glucose in a sample of blood.

For more terms, check out the American Diabetes Association glossary of common terms.