Technical Terms

Explanation of Technical Terms

- increased elimination of albumine (=protein molecules) in urine which serves as an indicator of nephropathy.

Angiopathy - general term for damage of blood vessels (veins, arteria, capillaries).

Audio-Bolus - optimal feature of an insulin pump to enable the user to program a bolus dose in a safe way without looking at the display of the pump. The Audio-Bolus of the Animas insulin pump can be set in levels of 0.1, 0.5, 1.0 or 5.0 units. The pump gives acoustic or vibration feedback to control insulin dose delivered into the body.

Basalrate - rate of continuously delivered insulin in units per hour. Depending on the type of pump they are able to deliver up to 48 different basal rates, starting every hour or every half hour.

Betacells - cells in the pancreas which produce insulin.

BMI - Body Mass Index. Measure for jugding body weight. Values below 19 are too low, values above 25 too high. BMI = body weigth in kg divided through body height in m2.

Bolus - dose of insulin which is delivered before or during a meal to cover glucose from the food or to lower elevated blood glucose levels.

Carbohydrates - source of energy from the food which is digested to glucose to increase blood sugar levels. A balanced diet should consist of minimum 50% carbohydrates.

Conventional Insulin Therapy - type of therapy where the patient gets mixed insulin (short and long acting insulin in one vial) twice a day.

CSII - abbreviation for continuous subcutaneous insulin infusion. This describes insulin therapy by means of an insulin pump.

DCCT - Diabetes Control and Complications Trial. A long-term study over 10 years regarding type 1 diabetes which was pubished 1993.

Diabetic Foot Syndrome (DFS) - damage of nerves and blood vessels in the feet lead to DFS (refer also to diabetic polyneuropathy).

Diabetic Ketoacidosis (DKA)  - metabolic complication resulting from high concentration of ketones in the body. It is mostly associated with high blood sugar levels. DKA is diagnosed by checking ketones in urine or blood. The symptoms are thurst, nausea, excessive amounts of urine, smell of acetone from mouth and skin etc. It can lead to death if not treated immediately.

Diabetes mellitus - metabolic disease where the pancreas produce no or not enough insulin.

Diabetic Polyneuropathy - damage of the nerves caused by diabetes. Chronically poorly controlled diabetes leads to damage of the nerve cells and of blood vessels nourishing the nerves.

Gastroparesis - diabetes complication which results in delayed digestion. The effect of insulin is therefore unforeseeable which could lead to hypoglycemia if insulin acts before carbohydrates are resorbed. Insulin pumps provide the feature “square wave” bolus to distribute the delivery of insulin over a certain programmed period of time to minimize danger of a gastroparesis induced hypoglycaemia.

Gestational diabetes - diabetes which occurs only during pregnancy. 1 – 5% of all pregnants develop gestational diabetes which disappears normally after birth.

Glucose - is checked when measuring blood glucose. It is provided to the body through the carbohydrates of the food and presents the most important source of energy to the organism.

Glycohemoglobin - refer to hemoglobin A1c

Hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) - glucose molecules which are connected to haemoglobin (=glycated). The higher blood glucose levels are the more glucose is connected to hemoglobin. HbA1c levels serve therefore as a marker of average blood glucose levels of the last two or three months and present a good overview over blood glucose control. Another name for HbA1c is “memory of blood glucose”

Hyperglycemia - elevated blood glucose.

Hypoglycemia - low blood glucose. Can be caused by high insulin levels, sports or reduced intake of food. Cardrivers with a hypoglycaemic episode have an increased risk for accidents. Severe hypoglycaemia can lead to coma, convulsions and death.

Hypoglycemia Unawareness - some diabetics have problems to discover symptoms of a hypoglycaemia in time. This is common when people suffer from diabetes for a very long time or have frequent episodes of hypoglycaemia.

Impaired glucose tolerance - elevated blood glucose levels after a special glucose burden. Blood glucose levels are in between the range of non-diabetic and diabetic individuals.

Infusion set - delivers insulin from the insulin pump to the body. It consists of a tubing, a Luer adapter (mostly) and a cannula made of steel or Teflon.

Insulin - hormon that is produced in the pancreas. Helps the body to metabolize glucose.

Insulin analogues - there are 2 types: short acting insulin modifications which have an immediate effect which lasts up to two hours. These are mostly used in insulin pumps as they work without time delay and can therefore be dosed exactly. Long acting insulins have an increased action over a longer period of time.

Intensified insulin therapy (ICT) – multiple injections per day require frequent blood glucose tests per day. Insulin delivery is split into basal and bolus doses (Basis-Bolus-Therapy, FIT Therapy).

Ketones - side products of fat metabolism which occur in hyperglycaemic conditions or poor resorption of carbohydrates.

Pancreas - insulin is produced in the pancreas.

Meal bolus - refer to Bolus

Mg/dl - milligram per decilitre. Unit for measuring blood sugar in some countries.

Mmol/l - millimol per litre. Unit for measuring blood sugar in some countries.

Neuropathy - disease or damage of the nerves. Very common late complication of diabetes. Refer also to Diabetic Polyneuropathy.

Nephropathy - disease of  the kidneys. Common late complication of diabetes. Starts with limited  kidney function and can lead to complete renal failure.

Oral antidiabetic drugs (OAD) - medication of tablets which lower blood sugar.

Regular insulin - quick acting insulin. Starts acting after 15 to 30 minutes after injection and works for about 4 to 6 hours. For insulin pumps regular insulin or short acting analogues are used.

Retinopathy - disease of the retina. Common late complication of diabetes. Leads to impaired vision or even to blindness.

Saint-Vincent-Declaration - at the European Diabetes conference in St. Vincente (Italy) in the year 1989 requirements were declared leading to a reduction of diabetes-related late complications within 5 years.

Subcutaneous - means „under the skin“ (in comparison to intravenous for „in the vein“ or intraperitoneal for „in the peritoneum“). The majority of injections is done subcutaneously.

Triglycerides - type of blood fats. Can be build in the body or intaken with the food. Elevated levels of triglycerides are common at overweighed people as well as at poorly controlled diabetics.

Type 1 diabetes - diabetes with an absolute lack of insulin. People with type 1 diabetes do not produce any insulin and have therefore to inject insulin during the day.

Type 2 diabetes - diabetes with a relative lack of insulin. In the beginning enough insulin is produced but the effect on receptors decrease. Later insulin production is not sufficient and people have to be treated with oral antidiabetic drugs or insulin.

UKPDS - United Kingdom Prospective Diabetes Study. The broadest long-term clinical trial (20 years) for type 2 diabetes. It could proof that good control of blood pressure reduces the risk of developing diabetic late complications.

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