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Diabetes – Glossary

Glossary

Alpha-glucosidase inhibitors

oral saccharide agents that prevent/reduce the digestion of carbohydrates through competitive inhibition.

Cardiovascular autonomic neuropathy

a form of autonomic neuropathy that causes abnormalities in heart rate control and central and peripheral vascular dynamics. Present in a higher proportion of people with diabetes than in the general population.

Diabetic ketoacidosis

condition where fats are broken down as an energy source due to excessive hypoglycaemia, resulting in build up of ketones to poisonous levels.

Diabetic nephropathy

kidney damage associated with high serum glucose levels, especially when hypertension is also present.

Diabetic neuropathy

a group of nerve disorders that may develop over time in the presence of high serum glucose. May be classified as peripheral, autonomic, proximal or focal.

Diabetic retinopathy

damage to the retina caused by vascular complications of diabetes.

Erectile dysfunction (impotence)

sexual dysfunction in men characterised by an inability to obtain and/or maintain an erection. Has a high incidence in diabetic men and may be more difficult to treat than in the general population.

Gastroparesis (delayed gastric emptying)

condition in which the stomach takes longer than normal to empty and food moves slowly or stops moving through the digestive tract. Results from damage to the vagus nerve that may be due to high serum glucose levels.

HbA1c (glycosylated haemoglobin)

a laboratory test that gives an indication of serum glucose levels over the past three months.

Hyperglycaemia

having high serum glucose levels.

Hypoglycaemia

having low serum glucose levels.

Impaired fasting glucose (IFG)

a pre-diabetic state of having fasting plasma glucose 5.7–6.9 mmol/L (100–125 mg/dL) and oral glucose tolerance test 2h value of <7.8 mmol/L (140 mg/dL). 

Impaired glucose tolerance (IGT)

a pre-diabetic state of having fasting plasma glucose <7.0 mmol/L (<126 mg/dL) and abnormal results according to oral glucose tolerance test (2h value 7.8–11.0 mmol/L [140–199 mg/dL]), but not sufficiently abnormal to be classified as having overt diabetes.

Insulin resistance

complex physiological condition in which the tissues do not respond normally to insulin.

Metformin

a biguanide oral agent that improves peripheral sensitivity to insulin.

Oral glucose tolerance test

a test that measures changes in glucose levels over time following glucose intake.

Thiazolidinediones (TZDs; glitazones)

oral agents that bind to peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors (PPARs).