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.

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.

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.