Glossary of Diabetic Terms - D

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Dawn phenomenon: A rise in blood sugar levels in the early morning hours.

Dehydration: Large loss of body water. If a person with diabetes has a very high blood sugar level, it causes increased water loss through increased urination and the person becomes very thirsty.

Diabetes: See type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes.

Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA): A severe, life-threatening condition that results from hyperglycemia (high blood sugar), dehydration, and acid build up that needs emergency treatment. DKA happens when there is not enough insulin and cells become starved for sugars. An alternative source of energy called ketones becomes activated. The system creates a build up of acids. Ketoacidosis can lead to coma and even death.

Dietitian: An expert in nutrition who helps people plan the type and amount of foods to eat for special health needs. A registered dietitian (RD) has special qualifications.

Recent headlines about cinnamon are the result of an accidental finding in a Maryland USDA research center. Incredibly, the catalyst was as American as good old apple pie, flavored with -- what else -- cinnamon. Scientists were testing the effects of various foods on blood sugar (glucose) levels. They expected the classic pie to have an adverse effect, but instead they found it actually helped lower blood glucose levels.

The researchers then took their surprising discovery and tested it in a small 60 patient study conducted in Pakistan, reporting in the journal Diabetes Care. All the patients had been treated for type 2, adult onset diabetes for several years and were taking anti-diabetic drugs to increase their insulin output. But they were not yet taking insulin to help process their blood glucose. The subjects were given small doses of cinnamon ranging from as little as a quarter teaspoon to less than 2 teaspoons a day for 40 days.
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