We are the product of our environment. Part of your environment is the job you do. It’s inevitable. My chosen career usually has me seeing the world through those lenses, and Diabetes is very much the same. I’ve had Type-1 Diabetes for so long that I have a nasty habit of throwing out Diabetes-related terms that the average person may not understand. After several years of hearing them, my family is still left reeling by some of the terminology.
With that in mind, here are some of the most commonly-used terms I tend to throw around. These were taken from a previous article I posted last november:
- Basal Rate: This refers to the constant supply of some given medication that is delivered over time. For someone with Diabetes, one’s basal rate refers to the dosage of insulin, which is slowly delivered throughout the day, usually by way of an insulin pump;
- Bolus: Unlike one’s basal rate, a bolus refers to a singular dosage of insulin that is delivered within a fixed period of time, either by manual injection or by way of an insulin pump. For example, before eating a meal, one would “bolus” a specific dose of insulin in response to the amount of carbohydrates in the meal;
- Blood Glucose: This one should be pretty straightforward, but I’ve been surprised at how many people honestly don’t understand what is meant by blood glucose. This term simply refers to the sugar carried through the blood stream in order to supply the body with energy. Having either too much, or too little sugar in the blood stream is one of the main issues with Diabetes;
- Carbohydrates: Considering all the “nutritional gurus” and fad diets on today’s market, this one comes as a surprise as far as people not understanding what carbs really are. Carbohydrates are the body’s main source of fuel, and includes sugars, starches and fibres. This is why it’s so important for someone with Diabetes to properly calculate their carb intake; because all these components (except fibre) will affect blood sugar;
- Fasting: Although not unique to Diabetes, fasting is often required prior to certain blood collection or medical examinations. It basically means that one abstains from ingesting any food or drink for a prescribed period of time;
- Hemoglobin A1C: Although more complicated than what I’ll explain, A1C refers to the average of one’s blood sugars over a 3-month period. This is a test frequently used to see if a person’s blood sugars are staying within acceptable range. This test has become less of a favoured method, since one’s A1C can be manipulated through extreme highs and lows. Methods of measuring a person’s “time in range”, such as continuous glucose monitoring have become more of an accurate method;
- Hyperglycemia: High blood sugar. That is all;
- Hypoglycemia: Low blood sugar. Bam!
- Insulin: This is a hormone produced by the pancreas, which regulates the level of glucose in the blood stream. In someone with Type-1 Diabetes, this hormone is no longer produced, which causes the need for a synthetically created insulin to be injected;
- Interstitial Tissue: This is the tissue that connects your outer flesh with the really bloody stuff underneath. This tissue is important for someone with Diabetes because it is where blood glucose levels are measured using a continuous glucose monitoring system;
- Ketoacidosis: This is one of the more common complications of Diabetes. As I understand it, ketoacidosis happens when there isn’t enough insulin in the system to help the sugar enter the cells. Without sugar as fuel, the body begins using fat stores for energy. This causes certain acids to start spilling into the system, which can be spilled out through one’s urine. It’s very dangerous and usually requires medical attention if your blood glucose level won’t come down or your ketones are unusually high;
- Subcutaneous Tissue: This refers to the layer of fat and connective tissue beneath the skin and is generally where injected insulin NEEDS to end up once injected from one’s pump or syringe.
There are probably some other terms that Diabetics use that confuse people, but these are the only ones I can think of. If you have any words or terms that you’re wondering about, drop them in my comments section and I’ll provide an explanation for those who may not know. ☯