Dictionary

Glossary of frequently used diabetes terms

A1C
BID
FPG
GLP-1
Glycaemic control
Hypoglycaemia
Insulin
Intermediate-acting insulin
Long-acting insulin
Macrovascular disease
Metformin
Microvascular disease
OADs
PPG
QD
Rapid-acting insulin
Short-acting insulin
SMBG
TID
Titration

A1C

The measurement of the amount of glycosylated haemoglobin in your blood. A1C provides an estimate of how well diabetes is being managed over time. ADA guidelines recommend an A1C target of 7.0% or less for people with type 2 diabetes to help prevent long-term medical complications such as cardiovascular disease and stroke.

BID

The Latin acronym for twice daily. This term is typically used by physicians when prescribing medication and in medical studies when describing how a drug should be/was dosed.

FPG

Fasting Plasma Glucose is a measurement of an individual’s blood glucose level after eight hours without food or drink. According to ADA guidelines, FPG levels should be less than 110 mg/dl. Traditionally, evaluating FPG levels has been a key means for keeping A1C targets in check.

GLP-1

GLP-1 (Glucagon-Like Peptide-1) is a natural hormone and is part of the body’s own system for controlling blood sugar levels. It stimulates the release of insulin only when blood sugar levels become too high.

Glycaemic control

The ability to reach and sustain blood glucose levels of 7.0% or less as recommended by the American Diabetes Association guidelines.

Hypoglycaemia

A condition in which there is a low level of blood glucose in the blood that deprives muscles, cells and brain with the energy needed to function. Hypoglycaemia can be triggered by taking too much insulin, by not following the prescribed meal schedule or by participating in unusually strenuous or prolonged exercise. Hypoglycaemic symptoms may include profuse sweating, a rapid heartbeat, feelings of panic, hunger or weakness, dizziness, trembling, blurred vision, slurred speech or a headache.

• Major event:
Hypoglycaemic incidences that require medical assistance/intervention, such as an injection of glucose.

• Minor event:
Hypoglycaemic incidences that can be managed by the individual person by eating something sweet or drinking a small amount of fruit juice.

• Nocturnal event:
Hypoglycaemic incidences that occur between midnight and 6.00 am.

Insulin

The three main characteristics of insulin, as part of the treatment protocol for diabetes, include:

• Onset:
The length of time before the insulin reaches the bloodstream to begin lowering the blood glucose.

• Peak time:
The period of time at which the insulin is working at its maximum strength to lower blood glucose levels.

• Duration:
The amount of time that the insulin lasts to lower blood glucose levels.

Intermediate-acting insulin

Insulin (human) that generally reaches the blood stream about 2 to 4 hours after it is injected, peaks 4 to 12 hours after it is injected and is effective for 12 to 18 hours. Intermediate-acting insulin is often used in combination with short-acting insulin.

Long-acting insulin

Insulin (ultralente) that reaches the bloodstream 6 to 10 hours after injection and is usually effective for 18 to 24 hours. Long-acting insulin may be absorbed at different rates in different people.

Macrovascular disease

Diabetes-related complications that may arise from a long-term lack of glycaemic control and A1C levels that are above the recommended 7.0% target. These complications include cardiovascular disease and stroke.

Metformin

Metformin is a drug that decreases the liver’s production of glucose and also helps cells incorporate and use glucose. Metformin is the preferred first-line drug for the treatment of type 2 diabetes. Insulin is commonly added to metformin when glycaemic targets are no longer met with metformin therapy alone.

Microvascular disease

Diabetes-related complications that may arise from a long-term lack of glycaemic control and A1C levels that are above the recommended 7.0% target. These complications include retinopathy, neuropathy and nephropathy.

OADs

Oral antidiabetics are oral medications that are prescribed to people with type 2 diabetes. OADs can be used on their own or in conjunction with insulin.

PPG

Postprandial Glucose is a measurement of an individual’s blood glucose level after eating. ADA guidelines emphasise that PPG levels should be less than 180 mg/dl. Increasingly, medical research is finding that PPG, in conjunction with FPG, plays a significant role in achieving and maintaining targeted A1C levels.

QD

The Latin acronym for once daily. This term is typically used by physicians when prescribing medication and in medical studies when describing how a drug should be/was dosed.

Rapid-acting insulin

Insulin that begins to work 15 minutes after it is injected, peaks in about an hour’s time and continues to work for 2 to 4 hours after injection. Rapid-acting insulin typically is injected immediately before a meal.

Short-acting insulin

Insulin (human) that usually reaches the bloodstream within 30 minutes after injection and peaks between 2 to 3 hours after injection.

SMBG

Self Monitoring Blood Glucose. As part of their daily treatment regimen, patients self-monitor their blood glucose levels so that they can review these numbers with their physician and diabetes care team. The results of blood glucose monitoring are used to determine how well a particular treatment approach is working and what changes, if any, are necessary.

TID

The Latin acronym for three times daily. This term is typically used by physicians when prescribing medication and in medical studies when describing how a drug should be/was dosed.

Titration

The insulin dosage prescribed by the treating physician. The insulin dosage at the time of administration should be titrated to meet the glycaemic needs of the patient. A physician also may titrate a patient’s treatment with once, twice, or three times daily dosing to help ensure that A1C targets are met.