Glossary of Diabetic Terms - B

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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.

Boston, MA—In a new study, researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) have found that eating processed meat, such as bacon, sausage or processed deli meats, was associated with a 42% higher risk of heart disease and a 19% higher risk of type 2 diabetes. In contrast, the researchers did not find any higher risk of heart disease or diabetes among individuals eating unprocessed red meat, such as from beef, pork, or lamb. This work is the first systematic review and meta-analysis of the worldwide evidence for how eating unprocessed red meat and processed meat relates to risk of cardiovascular diseases and diabetes.
www.hsph.harvard.edu

In type 2 diabetes, the body stops responding efficiently to insulin, a hormone that controls blood sugar. To compensate for the insensitivity to insulin, many diabetes drugs work by boosting insulin levels; for example, by injecting more insulin or by increasing the amount of insulin secreted from the pancreas. The new study, published in the June 9 issue of PLoS ONE, showed that a different approach could also be effective for treating diabetes — namely, blocking the breakdown of insulin, after it is secreted from the pancreas.
www.mayoclinic.org