Glossary of Diabetic Terms - B

A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z

Background retinopathy: This is the mildest form of eye disease damage from diabetes. It can be associated with normal vision and often progresses to other forms of eye disease.

Basal rate: The amount of insulin required to manage normal daily blood glucose fluctuations. Most people constantly produce insulin to manage the glucose fluctuations that occur during the day. In a person with diabetes, giving a constant low level amount of insulin via insulin pump mimics this normal phenomenon.

Beta cell: A type of cell in an area of the pancreas called the islets of Langerhans. Beta cells make and release insulin, which helps control the glucose level in the blood.

Biosynthetic insulin: Genetically engineered human insulin. This insulin has a much lower risk of inducing an allergic reaction in people who use it, unlike cow (bovine) or pork (porcine) insulins. The manufacturers of synthetic insulin make it in a short-acting form which works to cover meal time increases in sugars, they also produce longer-acting insulins which cover sugars between meals and when fasting, such as during the night.

Blood glucose: See glucose.

Blood glucose monitoring or testing: A method of testing how much sugar is in your blood. Home blood glucose monitoring involves pricking your finger with a lancing device, putting a drop of blood on a test strip and inserting the test strip into a blood glucose-testing meter that displays your blood glucose level. Blood sugar testing can also be done in the laboratory. Most large recognized organizations recommend blood glucose monitoring numerous times during the day if you have diabetes. Most recommend a glucose check first thing in the morning before eating and a sugar check two hours after meals.

Blood pressure: The measurement of the pressure or force of blood against the blood vessels (arteries). Blood pressure is written as two numbers. The first number or top number is called the systolic pressure and is the pressure in the arteries when the heart beats and pushes more blood into the arteries. The second number, called the diastolic pressure, is the pressure in the arteries when the heart rests between beats. The ideal blood pressure for non-pregnant people with diabetes is 130/80 or less.

Brittle diabetes: When a person's blood sugar level often shifts very quickly from high to low and from low to high.

Each year in the U.S. diabetes results in the amputation of about 65,700 legs or feet. About 85% of those began with a diabetic foot ulcer. And for Dr. David Schwegman, the mission to educate people about the issue is personal.

His father, a diabetic, had a foot ulcer that resulted in the amputation of his left leg, which contributed to his death, his son said.

"He became a statistic," Schwegman said. "He was one of the 50% of people that died within five years after having an amputation."

Being a border city has advantages and disadvantages, one disadvantage is having to always refer to imperial and metric units against your will. Sometimes you end up with a strange mix, I usually refer to temperature in the summer in F and temperature in the winter seems to make more sense in C.
If you know anyone in the US and have ever had a conversation about blood sugar, it may surprise you to hear how happy they are to have their fasting sugars below 100 (which in Canada would equate to about 5.5), or them to hear you explain how you had a SLIGHT low of 3.5 (which in the US would actually equate to 63).