Glossary of Diabetic Terms - E

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Emergency medical identification: Cards, bracelets, or necklaces with a written message, used by people with diabetes or other medical problems to alert others in case of a medical emergency, such as coma.

Endocrinologist: A doctor who treats people with hormone problems.

Exchange lists: A way of grouping foods together to help people on special diets stay on the diet. Each group lists food in a serving size. A person can exchange, trade, or substitute a food serving in one group for another food serving in the same group. The lists put foods into six groups: starch/bread, meat, vegetables, fruit, milk, and fats. Within a food group, one serving of each food item in that group has about the same amount of carbohydrate, protein, fat, and calories.

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."

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.