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.

Although accurate and convenient for detecting type 2 diabetes and prediabetes in adults, current HbA1c cutoffs may not be enough to diagnose diabetes in children.

A 2010 clinical practice guideline from the American Diabetes Association recommends that physicians exclusively use the HbA1c assay to detect diabetes. The guidelines recommend a cutoff of 6.5% or greater for diagnosis.

However, researchers for two recent studies highlight significant vulnerabilities in the recommended test’s ability to diagnose diabetes and prediabetes in children.
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The meta-analysis included data from eight observational cohort studies and 11 randomized controlled trials that involved diabetes and measuring vitamin D. The investigators, who were from Tufts Medical Center and Carney Hospital in Massachusetts, found that overall, individuals who consumed more than 500 International Units (IUs) per day of vitamin D had a 13 percent reduced risk of type 2 diabetes when compared with those who consumed less than 200 IU per day.
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