Impotence: Also called "erectile dysfunction." Persistent inability of the penis to become erect or stay erect. Some men may become impotent after having diabetes for a long time because nerves and blood vessels in the penis become damaged. It is estimated that 50% of men diagnosed with type 2 diabetes experience impotence.
Injection site rotation: Changing the areas on the body where a person injects insulin. By changing the area of injection, the injections will be easier, safer, and more comfortable. If the same injection site is used over and over again, hardened areas, lumps, or indentations can develop under the skin, which keep the insulin from being used properly. These lumps or indentations are called "lipodystrophies."
Injection sites: Places on the body where people can inject insulin most easily.
Insulin: A hormone produced by the pancreas that helps the body use sugar for energy. The beta cells of the pancreas make insulin.
Insulin dependent diabetes: Former term used for type 1 diabetes.
Insulin mixture: A mixture of insulin that contains short as well as intermediate- or long-acting insulin. You can buy premixed insulin to eliminate the need for mixing insulin from two bottles.
Insulin pump: A small, computerized device -- about the size of a small cell phone -- that is worn on a belt or put in a pocket. Insulin pumps have a small flexible tube with a fine needle on the end. The needle is inserted under the skin of the abdomen and taped in place. A carefully measured, steady flow of insulin is released into the body.
Insulin reaction: Another term for hypoglycemia in a person with diabetes. This occurs when a person with diabetes has injected too much insulin, eaten too little food, or has exercised without eating extra food.
Insulin receptors: Areas on the outer part of a cell that allow insulin in the blood to join or bind with the cell. When the cell and insulin bind together, the cell can take glucose from the blood and use it for energy.
Insulin resistance: When a person's body will not allow insulin to work properly in the body, even if the person takes very high daily doses of insulin. This condition can occur when a person is overweight and it often improves when the person loses weight.
Insulin shock: A severe condition that occurs when the level of blood sugar drops quickly.
Intermittent claudication: Pain in the muscles of the legs that occurs off and on, usually while walking or exercising. The pain results from atherosclerosis of the blood vessels feeding the muscles of the lower extremities. Claudication usually increases with age and is most common in people in their sixth or seventh decade of life. Risk factors for developing narrowing of the arteries that can cause claudication include smoking cigarettes, high blood pressure, and diabetes. Drugs are available to treat this condition.
Yesterday, I heard a patient advocate say he was thankful for diabetes. He said, “If I had to choose a disease, type 1 diabetes isn’t a bad choice. Sometimes I feel thankful for having it.” The 40-something who said this was speaking on the radio as I was driving. I nearly swerved off the road.
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