Glossary of Terms and
A1C: A blood test that shows your average blood sugar level over the past 2 to
3 months. This test is also called HbA1C, or hemoglobin A1C.
Beta cells: Cells in the pancreas that make insulin.
Blood glucose: The main sugar in the blood and source of the body’s energy.
Cells use insulin to make energy from blood glucose. (Also called blood sugar.)
Blood sugar level: The amount of sugar in a given amount of blood.
Also called blood glucose level.
Carbohydrates: One of 3 main nutrients in food (protein and fat are the other
2) that provide calories and energy. The body breaks down carbohydrates into glucose.
Diabetes: The short name for the disease diabetes mellitus, that is characterized by high blood sugar levels.
Diabetes results when your body cannot use blood glucose as energy because it has too little
insulin and/or is unable to use insulin properly.
Glucose: A sugar in your blood that can be broken down to create energy for
HbA1C: see A1C test
Hormone: A chemical that the body releases to help other cells work. As an
example, insulin is a hormone made in the pancreas to help the body use glucose
Hyperglycemia: The medical term for high blood sugar.
Hypoglycemia: The medical term for low blood sugar.
Insulin: A hormone made in the pancreas that enables the body to use glucose
Insulin deficiency: When the body doesn’t make the amount of insulin needed
to use blood glucose effectively.
Insulin pen: A device for injecting insulin that looks like a fountain pen.
Mealtime insulin: Short-acting insulin and rapid-acting insulin that is taken
before, during, or after a meal to help control blood sugar while eating.
Meal plan: A guide to help people get the proper amount of calories, carbohydrates,
proteins, and fats in their diet.
Pancreas: A gland near your stomach that makes insulin and enzymes that help
you digest food.
Type 1 diabetes: A condition where the pancreas can no longer produce insulin.
Type 2 diabetes: A condition characterized by high blood glucose levels caused
by either a lack of insulin and/or the body’s inability to use insulin efficiently.
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Important Safety Information About Insulin
The most common side effect of insulin is low blood sugar. Some people may experience
symptoms such as shaking, sweating, fast heartbeat, and blurred vision, while some
experience no symptoms at all. That’s why it’s important to check your blood sugar