Diabetes Definitions


Blood Sugar

Usually when we refer to blood sugar, we are referring to the amount of glucose circulating in the blood at any one time.  Blood glucose is carefully regulated using feedback mechanisms to keep it within strict limits.  Normal blood glucose levels in a healthy human are around 90mg / 100ml.

Diabetic Diet

This is the diet recommended for people who suffer from diabetes mellitus.  It’s high in fibre and low in fat.  Carbohydrates are limited, especially those with a high glycemic index.

Diabetes Insipidus

Characterised by excretion of large quantities of dilute urine, caused by the inability of the kidneys to concentrate urine.  Diabetes insipidus is caused by a lack of antidiuretic hormone (ADH).  Either the pituitary is not producing enough of this hormone, or the kidneys cannot respond to it.

Diabetes Mellitus

Characterised by high levels of glucose in the blood.  Diabetes mellitus is often just called diabetes. The most common causes are not enough insulin being produced by the pancreas, or the body failing to respond to insulin levels in the blood.  This leads to hyperglycaemia (hyperglycemia) with symptoms of excessive urine production, thirst, blurred vision and weight loss.

Gestational Diabetes

This is a form of diabetes mellitus.  Its a condition which affects some pregnant women.  Up to 10% of pregnancies can be affected by gestational diabetes.  It is possible that pregnant women become less sensitive to insulin because of some other change happening in the woman’s body.

Glucagon

Produced by the pancreas, glucagon is released when blood glucose levels are low.  It causes the liver to convert stored glycogen to glucose, thus raising blood glucose levels.  Glucagon works with insulin to maintain strict levels of blood glucose in the body.

Glucose

A simple mono-saccharide (simple sugar).  Living cells use it as a source of energy.

Glycemic Index

Often called the G.I. it is a measure of the effects of carbohydrates on blood glucose levels.  A carbohydrate that rapidly elevates blood glucose levels has a high G.I.  Carbohydrates that are broken down slowly, with a correspondingly slow release of glucose into the blood, have a low G.I.

Gycogen

Glycogen is a poly-saccharide consisting of multiple units of glucose.  Animals store excess glucose as glycogen.

Hyperglycaemia (hyoperglycemia)

Means a higher level than normal of glucose in the blood. Diabetes mellitus causes hyperglycaemia.

Hypoglycaemia (hypoglycemia)

Means lower than normal level of glucose in the blood.

Insulin

Insulin is a hormone that causes the body cells to take up glucose from the blood (especially liver, muscle and fat cells), to store it as glycogen.  When insulin is absent or in low concentration, glucose is not taken up, and the body starts to use fat cells for energy.  NOTE: I remember watching a documentary on the television about a diabetic girl who went blind because she stopped taking insulin.  She did so to lose weight!

Pancreas

Is a glandular organ that produces a range of hormones including insulin and glucagon which regulate blood glucose levels.

Type I Diabetes

Diabetes mellitus type I is an auto-immune disease.  The insulin-producing cells of the pancreas are destroyed.  Type I is lethal if untreated.  Treatment involves insulin via injection.

Type II Diabetes

Diabetes mellitus type II is also called non-insulin dependent diabetes (or adult-onset diabetes).  It is caused by the body becoming resistant to insulin and causes hyperglycaemia.  Type II diabetes can usually be managed by careful diet and exercise.


About Andy

Andy writes for a number of health related sites but has always been fascinated by alternative medicine and home remedies. His deep interests in nature and the body's innate ability to heal itself (given the right condition) have lead him to a pivotal time in his life - and so, Holistic Home Fitness was born. While it's relatively new at the moment, Andy wants to build this site into a huge reference site for a more holistic approach to health and fitness.