Glossary of Diabetic Terms - H

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Hematocrit Range: Conveys the volume of red blood cells present in blood. It tells us how much space red blood cells are occupying in a given volume of blood. The measured values of hematocrit range are always interpreted in percentage. For instance, in case the hematocrit reading of an adult male is 45%, it indicates that a sample of 100 milliliters of blood contains 45 milliliters of red blood cells.

High blood pressure: A condition when the blood flows through the blood vessels at a force greater than normal. High blood pressure strains the heart, harms the arteries, and increases the risk of heart attack, stroke, and kidney problems. Also called "hypertension." The goal for blood pressure in people with diabetes is less than 130/80.

High blood sugar: See hyperglycemia.

Home blood glucose monitoring: A way in which a person can test how much sugar is in the blood. Also called "self-monitoring of blood glucose." Home glucose monitoring tests whole blood (plasma and blood cell components), thus the results can be different from lab values which test plasma values of glucose. Typically the lab plasma values can be higher than the glucose checks done at home with a glucose monitor.

Hormone: A chemical released in one organ or part of the body that travels through the blood to another area where it helps to control certain bodily functions. For instance, insulin is a hormone made by the beta cells in the pancreas and when released, it triggers other cells to use glucose for energy.

Human insulin: Bio-engineered insulin very similar to insulin made by the body. The DNA code for making human insulin is put into bacteria or yeast cells and the insulin made is purified and sold as human insulin.

Hyperglycemia: High blood sugar. This condition is fairly common in people with diabetes. Many things can cause hyperglycemia. It occurs when the body does not have enough insulin or cannot use the insulin it does have.

Hypertension: See high blood pressure.

Hypoglycemia: Low blood sugar. The condition often occurs in people with diabetes. Most cases occur when there is too much insulin and not enough glucose in your body.

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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