What do all these words mean?

Hypo, glucose, bolus? It’s a whole new language. If I didn’t have a workshy pancreas then I would have no idea what all these seemingly foreign words mean. And yes, they do all come from the English language. So, for all those who don’t have a clue what I am going on about when I write about Lantus and NovoRapid I have decided to add a “Jargon Busting” page to clarify all these alien terms. An average person would have a blood glucose or blood sugar level of around 5.

Blood Glucose – Blood Glucose is the amount of glucose (sugar) that is in the blood. It is measured in millimoles (a very small amount) per 1 litre of blood.

Hypoglycaemia – Hypoglycaemia or Hypo is when the amount of sugar in the blood drops to below 4 mmols/l (millimoles per litre). If not bought up from below 4 to a safe level then hypoglycaemia can be fatal.

Hyperglycaemia – Hyperglycaemia or Hyper is when the amount of sugar in the blood is above the high teens. If a person has prolonged hyperglycaemia then it can lead to DKA which can be fatal.

Pancreas – The pancreas is a glandular organ in the upper body. It is about 6 inches long. The pancreas produces insulin and then secretes (releases) it into the blood stream.

Insulin – Insulin is a hormone that acts as a key. It “unlocks” the cells so that they can use the sugar that is in the bloodstream. People with type 1 diabetes don’t produce any insulin. People with type 2 may produce a little but cannot use it.

Ketones – Ketones are found in the blood when a person has Hyperglycaemia. Ketones are acidic and are produced when the body tries to burn its own fat due to the cells having a lack of glucose as there is not enough insulin.

DKA – DKA stands for Diabetic ketoacidosis. This is when the blood turns acidic due to the presence of many ketones. DKA is potentially life threatening.

Ketone strips – Ketone strips are strips that are urinated on and then matched to a chart to highlight the presence of ketones if there are any.

Meter – A meter is a handheld device that can measure Blood Glucose Levels. Most meters also work out the number of units needed after inputting the number of carbs.

Test Strips – Test Strips and tiny things that are pushed into the meter and have blood applied to. The meter reads the blood on the test strip.

Finger Pricker – A finger pricker is lanceting device is a gentle device that pricks the finger to draw blood. They are virtually painless.

Lancet – A lancet is a small barrel that is placed in a finger pricker or lanceting device. It fires out tiny things that penetrate the skin and draw blood.

Pen – Pens are a device that holds an insulin cartridge and pushes insulin out through a needle. The number of units of insulin are dialled up on a twisty part on the pen. people who treat with pens are often said to use MDIs.

MDI – MDI stands for multiple daily injections.

Needle – Needles are a tiny metal tube that the insulin is pushed, by the pen, down into the fat.

Insulin Cartridge – Insulin Cartridges are plastic cylinders which hold insulin. In England they often hold 3 ml which is 300 units.

Unit – A unit is a measurement of insulin.

Carbs – carbs is short for carbohydrate. It is the nutritional label that has to be looked at to calculate how much insulin is needed. Carbohydrate is digested into a sugar which raises blood sugar. This is why people with Diabetes count carbs and not sugar.

Bolus – Bolus is a short acting insulin used to cover a meal that is about to be eaten. It usually lasts around 4 hours.

Basal – Basal is a long acting or slow release insulin. It drips out or works slowly over a period of around 24 hours.

OmniPod – OmniPod is a type of pump. https://www.myomnipod.com/

Pump – A pump is an alternative method to using pens or MDIs. There are many brands of pump.

NovoRapid – NovoRapid is the fast acting insulin I use. http://www.novonordisk.co.uk/ 

Lantus – Lantus is the long acting insulin I use. http://en.sanofi.com/

Accucheck – Accucheck is the brand of meter that i use. they also make pumps. https://www.accu-chek.co.uk/gb/ 

Glucagon – Glucagon is a hormone that is injected into someone with Diabetes when they have fallen unconscious due to a low/hypo. It is a hormone that quickly raises blood sugar levels.