Glossary of words related to diabetes
A1C (also called HbA1c or glycated hemoglobin) – A test that gives you a picture of your blood sugar control over the previous 2 to 3 months. The results help show how well your diabetes care plan is working.
Beta cells – Cells in the pancreas that make and release insulin. In people with type 2 diabetes, the beta cells gradually stop releasing enough insulin to help bring sugar into cells, causing higher levels of blood sugar.
Biguanides – A group of oral medicines for the treatment of type 2 diabetes. They lower blood sugar by reducing the amount of glucose released by the liver and helping the body respond to insulin. Metformin is a biguanide.
GLP-1 – GLP-1 (glucagon-like peptide-1) is a hormone produced in the gut that helps the pancreas release the right amount of insulin to move sugar from the blood into the cells. It stimulates the beta cells in the pancreas to release insulin when blood sugar is high after you eat. It also helps to lower the amount of sugar produced by the liver.
Glucagon – A hormone that is released by the pancreas when blood sugar decreases (such as between meals or when you exercise). Glucagon tells the liver to release glucose into the bloodstream to bring your blood sugar level back to normal.
Glucose – Sugar. Blood glucose is another way to say blood sugar.
Hormone – A chemical messenger produced by the body that signals a reaction or function.
Hyperglycemia – High blood sugar (above your individual blood sugar target).
Hypoglycemia – Low blood sugar (usually less than 70 mg/dL).
Insulin – A hormone made by beta cells in the pancreas that helps sugar move from the blood into the cells. Insulin is also used to treat diabetes by helping to control the level of sugar in the blood.
Metformin – A type of oral medicine for the treatment of type 2 diabetes. Metformin is a biguanide. Biguanides lower blood sugar by reducing the amount of sugar released by the liver, decreasing intestinal absorption of glucose, and helping the body respond to insulin.
Pancreas – An organ situated behind the stomach that releases insulin as well as enzymes that help digest food in the small intestine. It also regulates blood sugar by releasing glucagon.
Sulfonylureas – A group of oral medications for the treatment of type 2 diabetes. They lower blood sugar by helping the pancreas release more insulin. Glipizide is an example of a sulfonylurea.
Thiazolidinediones – A group of oral medications for the treatment of type 2 diabetes. They help make the cells in the body more sensitive to insulin. Rosiglitazone is an example of a thiazolidinedione.