Glossary of Terms
Common Endocrinology & Diabetes Education Terminology
Acromegaly is a hormonal disorder where the pituitary gland produces excess amounts of growth hormone.
A benign tumor of an endocrine gland, such as a parathyroid adenoma.
The adrenal glands make hormones that help control the way the body uses food, the levels of minerals such as sodium and potassium in the blood, heart rate, blood pressure and other functions involved in stress reactions.
The adrenal cortex is the outside part of the adrenal gland. It makes cortisol that controls carbohydrate and fat metabolism and the body’s response to stress. It also produces aldosterone, which regulates salt and water balance in the body. Additionally, it produces sex steroids.
The adrenal medulla is the inner part of the adrenal gland that produces the hormones adrenaline (epinephrine) and noradrenaline (norepinephrine).
Adrenaline, also known as epinephrine, is responsible for preparing the body for “fight or flight.” It affects the size of blood vessels throughout the body, such as in the heart, brain, skin and muscles. Adrenaline is produced under stressful or exciting situations. When released, it causes a rapid pulse, higher blood pressure, shakiness, sweating, dilated pupils and pallor, also known as blanching of the skin (when the skin becomes white or pale).
Adrenocorticotropin is a hormone produced by the anterior pituitary gland that stimulates the adrenal cortex.
Amenorrhea is the term used when a woman or adolescent girl is not having menstrual periods.
Anaplastic Thyroid Cancer
A rare type of thyroid cancer that spreads rapidly. This is the least common but most deadly of all thyroid cancers.
Androgens are hormones that help to develop sex organs in men. They also contribute to sexual function in men and women.
Andropause is a biological change characterized by a gradual decline in androgens experienced by men during and after their midlife. Andropause is sometimes inaccurately described as male menopause.
Angiotensin is the common name of four hormones: angiotensin I-IV, which play an important role in the body’s overall health and blood pressure regulation.
Anterior pituitary is the front of the pituitary gland that produces and secretes several hormones, including growth hormone (GH), thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH), adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH), prolactin, luteinizing hormone (LH), follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and melanocyte-stimulating hormone (MSH).
Angiotensin is the common name of four hormones: angiotensin I-IV, which play an important role in the body’s overall health and blood pressure regulation.
Antiandrogens are substances that inhibit the biological effects of androgenic hormones.
Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (Enlarged Prostate)
Benign prostatic hyperplasia is noncancerous enlargement of the prostate gland, a common occurrence in older men.
Bioavailable testosterone represents the fraction of circulating testosterone that readily enters cells and better reflects the bioactivity of testosterone than does the simple measurement of serum total testosterone.
Bioidentical hormones are compounds that have exactly the same chemical and molecular structure as hormones that are produced in the human body. Though any hormone can be made to be “bioidentical,” the term is often used to describe allegedly custom-compounded formulations containing estrogens, progesterone and androgens. There is no evidence that they are any safer or more effective than FDA-approved hormone preparations.
Blood glucose (also called blood sugar)
The main source of energy that food is turned into that’s found in the blood.
Blood sugar (blood glucose) level
The amount of blood sugar at a specific time. It is measured in milligrams per deciliter, or mg/dL.
Blood glucose meter
A small, portable machine used by people with diabetes to check their blood sugar levels. After pricking the skin with a lancet, one places a drop of blood on a test strip in the machine. The blood glucose meter (sometimes called a monitor) measures and displays the blood sugar level.
Blood glucose monitoring
Checking blood sugar level on a regular basis in order to manage diabetes. A blood sugar meter or continuous glucose monitor (CGM) is needed for blood glucose monitoring.
Blood pressure is the force of blood pushing against the walls of the arteries as the heart pumps blood.
Body mass index (BMI)
A measure used to evaluate body weight relative to a person’s height. BMI is used to find out if a person is underweight, normal weight, overweight or obese.
An extra amount of insulin taken to cover an expected rise in blood sugar (blood glucose), often related to a meal or snack.
Bone Mineral Density
A bone mineral density (BMD) test measures the density of minerals (such as calcium) in bones using a special X-ray, computed tomography (CT) scan or ultrasound. This information is used to estimate the strength of bones.
A term sometimes used to describe when a person’s blood sugar (blood glucose) levels move in extremes from low to high and from high to low.
C-peptide is a substance made by the pancreas as a result of insulin production. The C-peptide test is a tool a doctor can use to find out how much insulin is being produced in the body and can be used in the diagnosis of diabetes mellitus and in the diagnosis of rare pancreas tumors secreting excess insulin (insulinomas).
Calcium is an essential element, is a vital source for bone strength and plays an important role in the body’s inflammatory response. Almost all the body’s calcium is stored in the bones and teeth.
Calcitonin is a protein hormone secreted by cells in the thyroid gland. It inhibits cells that break down bone and helps to regulate the blood’s calcium and phosphate levels.
A unit of energy in food.
One of the three main nutrients in food. Foods that provide carbohydrate are starches, vegetables, fruits, dairy products and sugars.
A method of meal planning for people with diabetes based on counting the number of grams of carbohydrate in food.
Clouding of the lens in front of the eye.
Certified diabetes care and education specialist (CDCES)
A healthcare professional with expertise in diabetes education who has met eligibility requirements and successfully completed a certification exam.
A condition in which the joints and soft tissue in the foot are destroyed.
Cholecystokinin, otherwise known as CCK or CCK-PZ, is able to improve digestion and affects appetite.
Cholesterol is a white crystalline substance found in animal tissues and various foods that is normally synthesized by the liver. Cholesterol levels can be a risk factor for heart disease.
A lump in the thyroid gland that does not take up iodine on a scan as well as the surrounding thyroid tissue.
A sleep-like state in which a person is not conscious. May be caused by hyperglycemia (high blood glucose) or hypoglycemia (low blood glucose) in people with diabetes.
Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia
Congenital adrenal hyperplasia refers to a group of inherited adrenal gland disorders. People with this condition do not produce enough of the hormones cortisol and aldosterone and produce too much of androgen.
Continuous glucose monitor
A continuous glucose monitor (CGM) is a device used for monitoring blood glucose on a continual basis by insulin-requiring people with diabetes (e.g., people with type I, type II diabetes or other types of diabetes). A continuous glucose monitor consists of three parts: a small electrode placed under the skin, a transmitter sending readings at regular intervals and a separate receiver.
Cortisol is a hormone produced by the adrenal gland. It is involved in the stress response and increases blood pressure and blood sugar levels.
A waste product from protein in the diet and from the muscles of the body. Creatinine is removed from the body by the kidneys. As kidney disease progresses, the level of creatinine in the blood increases.
Cushing syndrome is a hormonal disorder caused by prolonged exposure of the body’s tissues to high levels of the hormone cortisol. Sometimes called “hypercortisolism,” it is relatively rare and most commonly affects adults aged 20 to 50.
Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) is the highest circulating steroid present in the human body. It is a precursor hormone that can be converted into hormones such as testosterone and estradiol.
A condition unrelated to type 1, type 2, or gestational diabetes that is also characterized by frequent and heavy urination, excessive thirst, and an overall feeling of weakness.
Diabetes mellitus, or diabetes, is an endocrine disease in which your blood glucose (sugar) is too high. In type 1 diabetes, the pancreas no longer produces insulin. In type 2 diabetes, the body doesn’t respond to insulin properly, and later in the disease these patients often don’t make enough insulin.
An emergency condition in which high blood sugar (blood glucose) levels, along with a lack of insulin, result in the breakdown of body fat for energy and an accumulation of ketones in the blood and urine. Signs of DKA are nausea and vomiting, stomach pain, fruity breath odor, and rapid breathing. Untreated DKA can lead to coma and death.
Diabetic neuropathy is nerve damage as a result of poorly controlled diabetes. It may lead to a loss of feeling, numbness, tingling or burning pain in the hands, arms, toes and feet.
Diabetic retinopathy is a condition caused by poorly controlled diabetes that affects the eyes. It results from damage to small blood vessels that are in the retina. It can cause vision problems and eventually lead to blindness.
The process of cleaning wastes from the blood artificially. This job is normally done by the kidneys. If the kidneys fail, the blood must be cleaned artificially with special equipment. The two major forms of dialysis are hemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis. Diabetic kidney disease can lead to the loss of kidney function and the need for dialysis.
Generalized enlargement of the entire thyroid gland with a smooth surface.
Dihydrotestosterone is a male hormone more potent than testosterone that is converted from testosterone within the prostate.
DPP-4 inhibitor is a class of oral medication used to treat type 2 diabetes. It lowers blood glucose by blocking an enzyme called DPP-4, which destroys a hormone called incretin. Incretins help the body make more insulin only when it’s needed and decrease glucose production by the liver when it’s not needed.
Swelling caused by excess fluid in the body.
Endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) are natural and man-made chemicals that can either mimic, block, or disrupt the action of hormones. EDCs are associated with numerous adverse human health issues, including reproductive health problems, obesity, diabetes, hormone-related cancers, neurological issues, and other disorders.
The endocrine system consists of the glands that produce and release different types of hormones directly into the bloodstream. It regulates the body’s functions such as metabolism, mood, tissue function, growth and development.
Endocrinology is a medical subspecialty that studies the glands and hormones of the body.
Endocrinologists are specially trained physicians who diagnose diseases related to the glands. Because these doctors specialize in these conditions, which can be complex and have hard-to-spot symptoms, an endocrinologist is your best advocate when dealing with hormonal issues.
Enzymes are proteins that cause specific chemical reactions that are important to the body’s functions.
Erectile Dysfunction (ED)
Erectile dysfunction is the inability to achieve penile erection or to maintain an erection until ejaculation.
Erythropoietin is a hormone directly connected to red blood cell production and maintenance. Low levels of this hormone occur when someone has chronic kidney diseases.
Estradiol, a type of estrogen, is a female sex hormone produced mainly by the ovaries. It is responsible for growth of breast tissue, maturation of long bones, and development of the secondary sexual characteristics.
Estrogen is a hormone that is produced primarily by the ovaries and is important for sexual and reproductive development, mainly in women. Estrogen levels change naturally over the female lifespan, reaching adult levels with the onset of puberty and decreasing during middle age until the onset of menopause.
Estrogen Therapy (ET)
Estrogen therapy is a hormone therapy treatment program in which women take estrogen orally, transdermally, or vaginally to treat certain menopausal symptoms.
Produced by the ovaries, the estrone hormone is one of three types of estrogen. It is a weaker estrogen, commonly found in higher quantities in postmenopausal women.
One of several approaches for diabetes meal planning. Foods are categorized into three groups based on their nutritional content. Lists provide the serving sizes for carbohydrates, meat and meat alternatives, and fats. These lists allow for substitution for different groups to keep the nutritional content fixed.
Exocrine glands are glands that secrete their products directly into ducts. From the duct, they flow either into the bloodstream or from one cell to another cell. Examples include sweat glands and salivary glands.
Protrusion of the eyes in Graves’ Disease
Fasting blood glucose test
A check of a person’s blood sugar (blood glucose) level after the person has not eaten for 8 to 12 hours (usually overnight). A fasting blood sugar test in a lab is one of the tests used to diagnose prediabetes and diabetes. It is also used to evaluate how the treatment of a person with diabetes is working using results from a blood glucose meter.
One of the three main nutrients in food. Foods that provide fat are butter, margarine, salad dressing, oil, nuts, meat, poultry, fish, and some dairy products. Excess calories are also stored as body fat, providing the body with a reserve supply of energy and is used for other functions.
A follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) is a hormone released from the anterior pituitary. In females, FSH activates the maturation of ovarian follicles. In males, FSH is critical for sperm production and supports sperm cell maturation.
Follicular Thyroid Cancer
The second most common form of thyroid cancer. Usually curable by thyroid surgery.
Free testosterone is testosterone in the body that is biologically active and unbound to other molecules in the body, such as sex hormone binding globulin.
A sugar that occurs naturally in fruits and honey. Fructose has four calories per gram.
The death of body tissue, most often caused by a lack of blood flow and infection. It can lead to amputation.
Gastrin is a hormone the stomach produces. When you eat, gastrin stimulates the release of gastric acid, an important part of the digestive process.
A form of neuropathy that affects the stomach. Digestion of food may be incomplete or delayed, resulting in nausea, vomiting, or bloating, making the management of blood sugar (blood glucose) difficult.
Gender-affirming hormone therapy
A form of hormone therapy in which sex hormones and other hormonal medications are administered to transgender or gender nonconforming individuals for the purpose of more closely aligning their secondary sexual characteristics with their gender identity. This form of hormone therapy is given as one of two types, based on whether the goal of treatment is feminization or masculinization.
Gender dysphoria is a condition where a person experiences discomfort or distress because there’s a mismatch between their biological sex and gender identity. It’s sometimes known as gender identity disorder (GID), gender incongruence or transgenderism.
Gestational diabetes is diabetes diagnosed for the first-time during pregnancy (gestation). Like other types of diabetes, gestational diabetes affects how your cells use sugar (glucose). Gestational diabetes causes high blood sugar that can affect your pregnancy and your baby’s health.
Ghrelin is central to appetite and the release of growth hormone. Produced in the stomach and small intestine, ghrelin has been called the “hunger hormone” because of its role in controlling appetite.
A gland is an organ that produces and releases substances that perform a specific body function. Endocrine glands secrete hormones directly into the bloodstream and can act on other endocrine glands, and exocrine glands secrete their products through ducts.
An increase in fluid pressure inside the eye that may lead to loss of vision.
Glucocorticoid is a type of steroid hormone that mainly affects the metabolism of carbohydrates, is important in the body’s use of energy and has anti-inflammatory actions.
Glucagon is a hormone that works with other hormones and bodily functions to control glucose levels in the blood. It comes from alpha cells found in the pancreas and is closely related to insulin-secreting beta cells, making it a crucial component that keeps the body’s blood glucose levels stable.
Glucagon-Like Peptide 1
Glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) helps regulate your appetite, especially after eating. It also helps enhance the production of insulin.
Glucose is the main source of energy or fuel for all the body’s functions. Although the body gets most of its glucose from carbohydrates in food, glucose can also be made from protein and fat.
A ranking of carbohydrate-containing foods, based on the food’s effect on blood sugar (blood glucose) compared with a standard reference food. This value is not easily accessible for meal planning.
The presence of glucose in the urine.
Enlargement of the thyroid gland caused by decreased production of T3 (triiodothyronine) and T4 (thyroxine).
Gonads are the main reproductive organs. In males, the gonads are the testes. In females, they are the ovaries.
Gonadotropins are hormones that stimulate the gonads, which are the ovaries in females and testes in males.
Graves’ disease is an autoimmune thyroid disease. This disease is associated with an overactive thyroid gland which produces excess quantities of thyroid hormones.
Growth hormone is a hormone produced by the pituitary gland that fuels childhood growth and helps maintain tissues and organs throughout life.
Gynecomastia is the enlargement of breast tissue in males. Breast enlargement is common in men and boys at various stages of development, but also may be associated with certain medical conditions.
Hashimoto’s disease is an autoimmune thyroid disease and is the most common type of thyroid disease in the United States. Hashimoto’s disease is associated with inflammation of the thyroid. It is characterized by the production of immune cells and autoantibodies of the body’s immune system, which can damage thyroid cells and interfere with their ability to make thyroid hormones, leading to an underactive thyroid gland.
HDL cholesterol, (high-density-lipoprotein cholesterol)
A fat found in the blood that takes extra cholesterol from the blood to the liver for removal. Sometimes called “good” cholesterol.
An A1C test result reflects your average blood sugar level for the past two to three months. Specifically, the A1C test measures what percentage of hemoglobin proteins in your blood are coated with sugar (glycated).
Hirsutism is a condition of unwanted male-pattern hair growth in women. It causes excessive amounts of coarse and pigmented hair on body areas where men typically grow hair, such as the face, chest, abdomen and back.
A hormone is a chemical messenger released by a cell that transports a signal to other cells of the body.
Hormone therapy is the use of hormones in medical treatment. For example, doctors may use hormone therapy to boost estrogen levels in menopausal women. Other examples include thyroid hormone replacement for thyroid deficiency, insulin therapy for diabetes, and transgender hormone therapy.
Hot flashes refer to the sudden wave of mild or intense body heat caused by dilation of capillaries in the skin resulting from decreased levels of estrogen. Hot flashes affect about 75 percent of women as they go through menopause.
A lump in the thyroid gland that concentrates iodine on a scan more than the normal surrounding thyroid tissue. Hot nodules are very rarely cancerous.
Human Chorionic Gonadotropin Hormone
The human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) hormone is important in the early stages of pregnancy. It is produced by cells that are surrounding a growing embryo, which eventually forms the placenta.
Hyperglycemia is an elevation of blood glucose (sugar) that is above normal levels.
Hyperosmolar hyperglycemic nonketotic syndrome (HHNS)
An emergency condition in which one’s blood sugar (blood glucose) level is very high and ketones are not present in the blood or urine. If HHNS is not treated, it can lead to coma or death.
A condition present when blood flows through the blood vessels with a force greater than normal. Also called high blood pressure. Hypertension can strain the heart, damage blood vessels, and increase the risk of heart attack, stroke, kidney problems, and death.
Hyperthyroidism is a type of thyroid disease caused by an overactive thyroid gland that is associated with excessive amounts of thyroid hormone. It causes an increase in the body’s metabolism and can cause a variety of symptoms, such as racing heart rate, tremors, weight loss and insomnia.
Overproduction of parathyroid hormone (PTH) by a diseased parathyroid gland. The excess PTH causes the calcium to be too high, leading to kidney stones, osteoporosis, and several nervous system complaints.
Hypoglycemia, also called low blood sugar, occurs when your blood glucose level drops too low to provide enough energy for your body’s activities. Patients with severe hypoglycemia may experience unconsciousness or seizures due to low blood sugar.
Hypogonadism, or low testosterone, occurs when a man’s testes fail to produce sufficient quantities of testosterone and/or sperm quality is impaired.
The hypothalamus is located just above the brain stem. It serves as the link between the endocrine system and the nervous system by communicating with the pituitary gland. It controls the pituitary gland by increasing or decreasing the release of hormones. It activates and controls involuntary functions such as body temperature, hunger and thirst.
Hypothyroidism is a condition caused by an underactive thyroid that doesn’t produce enough thyroid hormones. It causes a decrease in the body’s metabolism and can cause a variety of symptoms, such as fatigue, sleepiness, weight gain and constipation.
IGF-1, or insulin-like growth factor 1, is a polypeptide protein hormone similar in molecular structure to insulin. It plays an important role in childhood growth and continues to have anabolic effects in adults. IGF-1 has been identified as a performance-enhancing drug.
Impaired fasting glucose (IFG)
A previous term for prediabetes found when using a fasting plasma glucose test.
Impaired glucose tolerance (IGT)
A previous term for prediabetes found when using an oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT)
Implantable insulin pump
A small pump placed inside the body to deliver insulin in response to remote-control commands from the user.
Insulin is a natural hormone made by the pancreas that controls the level of glucose (sugar) in the blood. If insulin is not made by the pancreas or the body does not respond to it properly, it leads to a disease called diabetes.
A change in the amount of insulin a person with diabetes takes based on factors such as meal planning, activity, and blood sugar (blood glucose) levels.
An insulin analogue is a tailored form of insulin in which certain amino acids in the insulin molecule have been modified. The analogue acts in the same way as the original insulin, but with some beneficial differences for people with diabetes. Analogues are sometimes referred to as “designer” insulins.
A device for injecting insulin that holds replaceable cartridges of insulin. Also available in disposable form.
An insulin-delivering device about the size of a deck of cards that can be worn on a belt or kept in a pocket. An insulin pump connects to narrow, flexible plastic tubing that ends with a needle inserted just under the skin. Users set the pump to give a steady trickle or basal amount of insulin continuously throughout the day. Pumps can also release bolus doses of insulin (several units at a time) at meals and at times when blood sugar (blood glucose) is too high.
When the level of glucose in the blood is too low (at or below 70 mg/dL). Also known as hypoglycemia.
Areas on the outer part of a cell that allow the cell to bind with insulin in the blood. When the cell and insulin bind, the cell can take glucose from the blood and use it for energy.
The body’s inability to respond to and use the insulin it produces. Insulin resistance may be linked to obesity, hypertension, and high levels of fat in the blood.
Insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM)
Former term for type 1 diabetes.
A tumor of the beta cells in the pancreas. An insulinoma may cause the body to make extra insulin, leading to hypoglycemia.
A non-metallic element found in food. It is necessary for normal thyroid function.
A small piece of thyroid tissue that connects the right and left lobes of the thyroid gland.
Kallmann syndrome is form of hypogonadism that is caused by congenital gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) deficiency. It is more common in males and is a known cause of delayed puberty.
A chemical produced when there is a shortage of insulin in the blood and the body breaks down body fat for energy. High levels of ketones can lead to diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA). Sometimes referred to as ketone bodies.
A condition occurring when ketones are present in the urine, a warning sign of diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA).
A ketone buildup in the body that may lead to diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA). Signs of ketosis are nausea, vomiting, and stomach pain.
A chronic condition in which the body retains fluid and harmful wastes build up because the kidneys no longer work properly. A person with kidney failure needs dialysis or a kidney transplant. Also called end-stage renal disease or ESRD.
The kidneys, located on each side of the body, are organs that receive and filter waste products, minerals and water from your blood. The kidneys’ filtering of water maintains a stable balance of electrolytes in the blood. The kidneys filter medications and make substances that help control blood pressure and regulate the formation of red blood cells.
Kisspeptin, made in the hypothalamus, starts the reaction that signals the release of hormones involved in testosterone and estradiol production. Also called metastin, this hormone is connected to puberty and fertility, and it may also help stop the spread of cancer.
Klinefelter syndrome is the most common congenital abnormality in males causing primary hypogonadism, occurring in approximately 1 in 1000 live male births. This syndrome is the clinical manifestation of a male who has an extra X chromosome.
The rapid, deep, and labored breathing of people who have diabetic ketoacidosis.
A spring-loaded device used to prick the skin with a small needle to obtain a drop of blood for blood glucose monitoring.
Latent autoimmune diabetes in adults (LADA)
A condition in which type 1 diabetes develops in adults.
LDL cholesterol, (low-density lipoprotein cholesterol)
A fat found in the blood that takes cholesterol around the body to where it is needed for cell repair and deposits it on the inside of artery walls. Sometimes called “bad” cholesterol.
Leptin, a hormone released from the fat cells located in adipose tissues, sends signals to the hypothalamus in the brain. This hormone helps regulate and alter long-term food intake and energy expenditure to help the body maintain its weight.
A term for fat in the body. Lipids can be broken down by the body and used for energy.
A blood test that measures total cholesterol, triglycerides, and HDL cholesterol. LDL cholesterol is then calculated from the results. A lipid profile is one measure of a person’s risk of cardiovascular disease.
Loss of fat under the skin resulting in small dents. Lipoatrophy may be caused by repeated injections of insulin in the same spot.
Caused by the breaking down or building up of fat below the surface of the skin, resulting in lumps or small dents in the skin surface. (See lipohypertrophy or lipoatrophy.) Lipodystrophy may be caused by repeated injections of insulin in the same spot.
Buildup of fat below the surface of the skin, causing lumps. Lipohypertrophy may be caused by repeated injections of insulin in the same spot.
A lobe is a portion of an organ or a gland.
Luteinizing hormone is the hormone that stimulates ovulation and is involved in the production of estrogen and some androgens. This hormone also stimulates the production of testosterone by the testes in the male. It is important in sexual reproduction.
Luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone, or gonadotropin-releasing hormone
Luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone (LHRH), also known as gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH), helps to control the release of follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH) from the anterior pituitary gland. GnRH is synthesized and released from the hypothalamus.
Abnormally large; in diabetes, the term is used to refer to abnormally large babies that may be born to women with diabetes.
Melatonin is a hormone secreted by the pineal gland that helps control your sleep and wake cycles.
Menarche is the time in a woman’s life when menstruation first begins. During this time, menstruation may be irregular and unpredictable.
Menopause is the process a woman goes through that causes her monthly periods to end. During menopause, a woman’s ovaries stop producing eggs and produce fewer female hormones.
Menstruation is the periodic blood that flows as a discharge from the uterus. It occurs in the absence of pregnancy when the uterus sheds its lining.
Metabolic syndrome describes a cluster of metabolic risk factors that increase the chances of developing heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. Genetic factors, too much body fat, and lack of exercise contribute to the development of the condition.
Metabolism comprises all of the chemical and physical processes in the body necessary for life. Processes include breaking down food for energy and producing substances to sustain life.
Small amounts of the protein called albumin in the urine detectable with a special lab test.
The presence of small amounts of albumin, a protein, in the urine. Microalbuminuria is an early sign of kidney damage, or nephropathy, a common and serious complication of diabetes. Microalbuminuria is usually managed through blood sugar (blood glucose) management, reducing blood pressure, and a healthy eating plan.
A small swelling that forms on the side of tiny blood vessels. These small swellings may break and allow blood to leak into nearby tissue. People with diabetes may get microaneurysms in the retina of the eye.
A short piece of nylon, like a hairbrush bristle used to check the sensitivity of the nerves in the foot.
Neuropathy affecting a single nerve.
Enlarged thyroid gland with two or more nodules.
Necrobiosis lipoidica diabeticorum
A skin condition usually on the lower part of the legs. Lesions can be small or extend over a large area. They are usually raised, yellow, and waxy in appearance and often have a purple border.
Neuroendocrine integration is a process that unites and coordinates the brain with the endocrine system.
Noninsulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM)
Former term for type 2 diabetes.
Noninvasive blood glucose monitoring
Measuring blood sugar (blood glucose) without pricking the finger to obtain a blood sample.
Norepinephrine is a hormone produced by the adrenal glands. It also acts as a neurotransmitter, a chemical messenger which transmits signals across nerve endings in the body. Together with other hormones, it helps the body respond to stress and exercise.
An intermediate-acting insulin. NPH stands for neutral protamine Hagedorn. On average, NPH insulin starts to lower blood sugar within one to two hours after injection. It has its strongest effect 6 to 10 hours after injection but keeps working about 10 hours after injection. Also called N insulin.
Obesity is a chronic medical disease of having too much body fat. Health care providers diagnose obesity using a number called the body mass index.
Oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT)
A test to diagnose prediabetes and diabetes. The oral glucose tolerance test is given by a health care professional after an overnight fast. A blood sample is taken, then the patient drinks a high-glucose beverage. Blood samples are taken at intervals for two to three hours. Test results are compared with a standard and show how the body uses glucose over time.
Osteoporosis is a condition marked by weak and brittle bones. If you have osteoporosis, you are more likely to fracture your bones and for many adults a fracture is the initial presentation of osteoporosis.
Ovaries are the egg producing organs found in females. They produce the hormones estrogen and progesterone.
Oxytocin is a hormone that causes the uterus to contract during labor, which allows women to give birth. After birth it stimulates the nipples to make breastfeeding easier.
The pancreas is a gland near the stomach that helps break down food. It also secretes hormones that help control blood glucose (sugar) levels. If the pancreas does not work properly, it can lead to a disease called diabetes.
Papillary Thyroid Carcinoma
The most common form of thyroid cancer; usually curable by surgery.
The parathyroid glands are four glands located behind each corner of the thyroid that regulate calcium levels in the body by releasing a hormone called parathyroid hormone.
The parathyroid hormone is made by the parathyroid glands. It is responsible for maintaining balance of calcium and phosphorus levels in the body by acting on bones and the kidneys.
After eating, the hormone peptide YY (PYY) is produced by the small intestine and released into the bloodstream. PYY communicates to your brain that you are full and decreases your appetite.
Part of the menopause transition, the perimenopause stage takes place when a woman’s ovaries gradually begin to produce less estrogen.
Pineal gland (also called the pineal body) is a small endocrine gland that produces melatonin, a hormone that affects the wake and sleep patterns and seasonal functions. It is located near the center of the brain and shaped like a tiny pinecone.
The pituitary gland is an endocrine gland that secretes nine hormones that regulate aspects of your body’s metabolism. This gland has two components, the anterior pituitary secreting growth hormone (GH), thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH), adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH), prolactin, luteinizing hormone (LH), follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and melanocyte-stimulating hormone (MSH), and the posterior pituitary, secreting anti-diuretic hormone (ADH) and oxytocin.
Polycystic ovary syndrome
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a hormonal disorder affecting roughly 1 in 10 women of reproductive age. For most women with PCOS, the ovaries are enlarged and contain numerous small cysts (abnormal structures containing fluid) located along the outer edge of each ovary. The name of the condition (polycystic) comes from this appearance of the ovaries.
Excessive thirst; may be a sign of diabetes.
Excessive hunger; may be a sign of diabetes.
Excessive urination; may be a sign of diabetes.
The posterior pituitary is one of the two lobes of the pituitary gland. It stores and secretes oxytocin and anti-diuretic hormone (ADH, or vasopressin) directly into the circulation. These hormones are involved in uterine contractions and managing levels of water in the blood, respectively.
Postprandial blood glucose
the blood sugar (blood glucose) level one to two hours after eating.
Prader-Willi syndrome is a genetic disorder that can cause a growth hormone deficiency. It is marked by a preoccupation with food, small stature, and learning difficulties.
Prediabetes is a condition in which blood sugar levels are higher than normal but are not elevated enough to qualify for the diagnosis of diabetes.
Premenstrual syndrome describes the appearance of physical and emotional symptoms during the second half of the menstrual cycle.
Preprandial blood glucose
Blood sugar (blood glucose) level before eating.
Progesterone is a female hormone that prepares the uterus to receive and sustain fertilized eggs.
This is a synthetic form of progesterone. This class of drugs was originally developed to allow absorption by mouth for use in birth control pills.
The substance made first in the pancreas and then broken into several pieces to become insulin.
Prolactin is a hormone secreted by the pituitary gland that helps with the development of mammary glands within the breast tissues and stimulates lactation, which is the production of milk. Abnormally high prolactin (hyperprolactinemia) can delay puberty, interfere with ovulation in women, decrease libido in men and decrease fertility. Hyperprolactinemia can occur in several physiologic conditions such as pregnancy and stress, due to medications, or due to a benign tumor in the pituitary gland called a prolactinoma.
Prostaglandins are a group of lipids involved in the process of inflammation and blood clotting following an injury. These hormones are created during a chemical reaction at the injury site.
1. One of the three main nutrients in food. Foods that provide protein include meat, poultry, fish, cheese, milk, dairy products, eggs, and dried beans. 2. Proteins are also used in the body for cell structure, hormones such as insulin, and other functions.
The presence of protein in the urine, indicating that the kidneys are not working properly.
A swing to a high level of glucose in the blood after a low level. See Somogyi effect.
Relaxin is a reproductive hormone secreted in the ovary by the corpus luteum. It is involved in preparing a pregnant woman’s body for labor and birth.
Renal threshold of glucose
The blood sugar (blood glucose) concentration at which the kidneys start to excrete glucose into the urine
Renin-angiotensin system is a hormone system that regulates blood pressure and fluid balance in the body. It relies on the function of the kidneys.
The scrotum is a pouch that contains the testes and parts of the spermatic cords in males.
A type of diabetes caused by another disease or certain drugs or chemicals.
In diabetes, the ongoing process of a person managing diabetes. This includes meal planning, physical activity, and blood sugar (blood glucose) monitoring, and may also include taking diabetes medications, handling episodes of low and high blood sugar, managing diabetes when traveling, and more. The person with diabetes designs his or her own self-management treatment plan with their diabetes care team, which may include doctors, nurses, diabetes educators, dietitians, pharmacists, and others.
Serotonin is the key hormone that stabilizes our mood, feelings of well-being, and happiness. It also helps reduce depression, regulate anxiety, and maintain bone health.
A set of instructions for adjusting insulin on the basis of blood sugar (blood glucose) test results, meals, or activity levels.
Somatostatin is a hormone released by the hypothalamus and also produced in the pancreas. It has actions on the anterior pituitary gland and the gastrointestinal system, including the pancreas. It regulates endocrine and nervous system function by stopping the secretion of several other hormones such as growth hormone, insulin and gastrin.
Somogyi (rebound hyperglycemia)
When the blood sugar (blood glucose) level swings high following hypoglycemia. The Somogyi effect may follow an untreated hypoglycemic episode during the night and is caused by the release of stress hormones.
Sperm is the male gamete or sex cell that is involved in fertilization (creating what will eventually be the fetus).
Another name for carbohydrate, one of the three main nutrients in food.
Steroids are a large group of chemical substances that are classified by a specific structure. Steroids include drugs used to relieve swelling and inflammation, such as prednisone, cortisone, vitamin D and some sex hormones, such as testosterone and estradiol.
A two-part sugar made of glucose and fructose. Known as table sugar or white sugar, it is found naturally in sugar cane and in beets.
A class of carbohydrates with a sweet taste, including glucose, fructose, and sucrose.
Sweeteners that produce a smaller rise in blood sugar (blood glucose) than other carbohydrates. Their calorie content is about two calories per gram. Includes erythritol, hydrogenated starch hydrolysates, isomalt, lactitol, maltitol, mannitol, sorbitol, and xylitol. Also known as polyols.
The testes are the male sex glands located behind the penis in a pouch of skin called the scrotum. The testes produce and store sperm, and produce hormones called androgens, primarily testosterone.
Testosterone is a male sex hormone that is produced by the testes and is responsible for male growth and development.
The thalamus is the part of the brain that relays sensory and motor signals to the cerebral cortex (outer layer of the brain) and regulates consciousness, sleep and alertness.
Thermostat is a device that monitors temperature and automatically maintains it at certain levels. In humans, the tiny part of the brain called the hypothalamus, which is located behind the eyes, serves as the thermostat. It can warm the body by causing it to shiver and cool the body by causing it to sweat. The hypothalamus also regulates hunger, thirst, sex drive and other bodily activities.
The thymus gland is located in the chest just behind the sternum. The thymus secretes hormones that are commonly referred to as humoral factors and are important during puberty. The role of these hormones is to make sure a person develops a healthy immune system.
The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland in the middle of the neck that produces two hormones, triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4). These hormones are responsible for influencing the body’s metabolism, growth, development and temperature.
T3 (triiodothyronine) and T4 (thyroxine) are the hormones produced by the thyroid gland under stimulation by the pituitary gland. A deficiency of iodine (an essential mineral) leads to decreased production of T3 and T4, enlarges the thyroid tissue and will cause the disease known as goiter.
An operation removing all or part of the thyroid gland.
Thyroiditis is inflammation of the thyroid gland.
Thyroxine, also known as T4, plays a crucial role in heart and digestive function, metabolism, brain development, bone health, and muscle control. The thyroid gland secretes thyroxine into the bloodstream.
Total testosterone is a measurement of the total amount of testosterone in the blood, combining free testosterone and testosterone bound to certain molecules and already at use in the body.
An enlarged thyroid gland that produces too much thyroid hormone.
The storage form of fat in the body. High triglyceride levels may occur when diabetes is out of control.
Thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) is a hormone released by the pituitary gland that stimulates the thyroid. TSH levels in your bloodstream rise or fall depending on whether enough thyroid hormone is produced to meet your body’s needs. Higher levels of TSH prompt the thyroid to produce more thyroid hormone. Conversely, low TSH levels signal the thyroid to slow down production. TSH levels are tested and used in the diagnosis of thyroid disease.
Turner syndrome occurs in females when one of the X chromosomes is missing or damaged. The most common features of Turner syndrome are short stature and reduced or absent development of the ovaries. As adults, women with this disorder are typically infertile.
Type 1 diabetes
A condition characterized by high blood sugar (blood glucose) levels caused by a lack of insulin. Occurs when the body’s immune system attacks the insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas and destroys them. The pancreas then produces little or no insulin. Type 1 diabetes develops most often in young people but can appear in adults.
Type 2 diabetes
A condition characterized by high blood sugar (blood glucose) levels caused by either a lack of insulin or the body’s inability to use insulin efficiently. Type 2 diabetes develops most often in middle-aged and older adults but can appear in young people.
A deep open sore or break in the skin.
Long-acting insulin. On average, ultralente insulin starts to lower blood sugar (blood glucose) within four to six hours after injection. It has its strongest effect 10 to 18 hours after injection but keeps working 24 to 28 hours after injection. Also called U insulin.
Unit of insulin
The basic measure of insulin. U-100 insulin means 100 units of insulin per milliliter (mL) or cubic centimeter (cc) of solution. Most insulin made today in the United States is U-100.
Vasopressin, also known as anti-diuretic hormone (ADH), is a hormone produced by the posterior pituitary gland. It can cause less frequent urination and cause the body to retain water.
Vitamin D is a prohormone—a substance the body converts to a hormone. The body produces vitamin D in a chemical reaction that occurs when sunlight hits the skin, and some vitamin D also comes from food sources. Active vitamin D functions as a hormone because it sends messages to the intestines to increase the absorption of calcium and phosphorus.
Steps taken to ensure that a wound that can lead to, or is, a foot ulcer heals correctly. People with diabetes need to take special precautions so wounds do not become infected.