A sudden rise in blood glucose levels in the early morning hours. This
condition sometimes occurs in people with insulin-dependent diabetes and
(rarely) in people with noninsulin-dependent diabetes. Unlike the Somogyi
effect, it is not a result of an insulin reaction. People who have high
levels of blood glucose in the mornings before eating may need to monitor
their blood glucose during the night. If blood glucose levels are rising,
adjustments in evening snacks or insulin dosages may be recommended.
See also: Somogyi
The removal of infected, hurt, or dead tissue.
Great loss of body water. A very high level of glucose (sugar) in the
urine causes loss of a great deal of water, and the person becomes very
A type of cell in the pancreas in areas called the islets
of Langerhans. Delta cells make somatostatin,
a hormone that is believed to control how the beta cells
make and release insulin and how the alpha
cells make and release glucagon.
A method to reduce or stop a response such as an allergic reaction to
something. For instance, if a person with diabetes has a bad reaction to
taking a full dose of beef insulin, the doctor gives the person a very small
amount of the insulin at first. Over a period of time, larger doses are
given until the person is taking the full dose. This is one way to help the
body get used to the full dose and to avoid having the allergic reaction.
A simple sugar found in the blood. It is the body's main source of
energy. Also called glucose.
Diabetes Control and Complications Trial (DCCT)
See also: Blood
A 10-year study (1983-1993) funded by the National Institute of Diabetes
and Digestive and Kidney Diseases to assess the effects of intensive therapy
on the long-term complications of diabetes. The study proved that intensive
management of insulin-dependent diabetes prevents or slows the development
of eye, kidney, and nerve damage caused by diabetes.
A disease of the pituitary gland or kidney, not diabetes mellitus.
Diabetes insipidus is often called "water diabetes" to set it apart from
"sugar diabetes." The cause and treatment are not the same as for diabetes
mellitus. "Water diabetes" has diabetes in its name because most people who
have it show most of the same signs as someone with diabetes mellitus-they
have to urinate often, get very thirsty and hungry, and feel weak. However,
they do not have glucose (sugar) in their urine.
Diabetes Insipidus Network helps families with children who have
A disease that occurs when the body is not able to use sugar as it
should. The body needs sugar for growth and energy for daily activities. It
gets sugar when it changes food into glucose (a form of sugar). A hormone
called insulin is needed for the glucose to be taken up and used by the
body. Diabetes occurs when the body cannot make use of the glucose in the
blood for energy because either the pancreas is not able to make enough
insulin or the insulin that is available is not effective. The beta cells in
areas of the pancreas called the islets of Langerhans usually make insulin.
There are two main types of diabetes mellitus: insulin-dependent (Type 1)
and noninsulin-dependent (Type 2). In insulin-dependent diabetes (IDDM), the
pancreas makes little or no insulin because the insulin-producing beta cells
have been destroyed. This type usually appears suddenly and most commonly in
younger people under age 30. Treatment consists of daily insulin injections
or use of an insulin pump, a planned diet and regular exercise, and daily
self-monitoring of blood glucose.
In noninsulin-dependent diabetes (NIDDM), the pancreas makes some
insulin, sometimes too much. The insulin, however, is not effective (see
Insulin Resistance). NIDDM is controlled by diet and exercise and daily
monitoring of glucose levels. Sometimes oral drugs that lower blood glucose
levels or insulin injections are needed. This type of diabetes usually
develops gradually, most often in people over 40 years of age. NIDDM
accounts for 90 to 95 percent of diabetes.
The signs of diabetes include having to urinate often, losing weight,
getting very thirsty, and being hungry all the time. Other signs are blurred
vision, itching, and slow healing of sores. People with untreated or
undiagnosed diabetes are thirsty and have to urinate often because glucose
builds to a high level in the bloodstream and the kidneys are working hard
to flush out the extra amount. People with untreated diabetes often get
hungry and tired because the body is not able to use food the way it should.
In insulin-dependent diabetes, if the level of insulin is too low for a
long period of time, the body begins to break down its stores of fat for
energy. This causes the body to release acids (ketones) into the blood. The
result is called ketoacidosis, a severe condition that may put a person into
a coma if not treated right away.
The causes of diabetes are not known. Scientists think that insulin-
dependent diabetes may be more than one disease and may have many causes.
They are looking at hereditary (whether or not the person has parents or
other family members with the disease) and at factors both inside and
outside the body, including viruses.
Noninsulin-dependent diabetes appears to be closely associated with
obesity and with the body resisting the action of insulin.
A disease of the nerves leading to the muscles. This condition affects
only one side of the body and occurs most often in older men with mild
See also: Neuropathy.
A severe emergency in which a person is not conscious because the blood
glucose (sugar) is too low or too high. If the glucose level is too low, the
person has hypoglycemia; if the level is too high, the person has
hyperglycemia and may develop ketoacidosis.
See also: Hyperglycemia;
A characteristic skin disorder found in up to 50% of male adults and 30%
of female adults with diabetes. The lesions may be round or oval and usually
are red or reddish brown, and usually measure 1-3 inches. They usually occur
on the thigh or shin, but may appear also on the scalp, forearm and trunk.
There is not an effective treatment and the lesions tend to disappear
spontaneously after several years.
Diabetic Ketoacidosis (DKA)
Severe, out-of-control diabetes (high blood sugar) that needs emergency
treatment. DKA is caused by a profound lack of circulating insulin. This may
happen because of illness, taking too little insulin, or getting too little
exercise. The body starts using stored fat for energy, and ketone
bodies (acids) build up in the blood.
Ketoacidosis starts slowly and builds up. The signs include nausea and
vomiting, which can lead to loss of water from the body, stomach pain, and
deep and rapid breathing. Other signs are a flushed face, dry skin and
mouth, a fruity breath odor, a rapid and weak pulse, and low blood pressure.
If the person is not given fluids and insulin right away, ketoacidosis can
lead to coma and even death.
Spinal cord damage found in some people with diabetes.
Loss of foot bone as viewed by x-ray; usually temporary. Also called
"disappearing bone disease."
A disease of the small blood vessels of the retina of the eye. When
retinopathy first starts, the tiny blood vessels in the retina become
swollen, and they leak a little fluid into the center of the retina. The
person's sight may be blurred. This condition is called background
retinopathy. About 80 percent of people with background retinopathy never
have serious vision problems, and the disease never goes beyond this first
However, if retinopathy progresses, the harm to sight can be more
serious. Many new, tiny blood vessels grow out and across the eye. This is
called neovascularization. The vessels may break and bleed into the clear
gel that fills the center of the eye, blocking vision. Scar tissue may also
form near the retina, pulling it away from the back of the eye. This stage
is called proliferative retinopathy, and it can lead to impaired vision and
See also: Photocoagulation
or vitrectomy for treatments.
Causing diabetes; some drugs cause blood
glucose (sugar) to rise, resulting in diabetes.
A doctor who sees and treats people with diabetes mellitus.
The term used when a doctor finds that a person has a certain medical
problem or disease.
A method for removing waste such as urea from the blood when the kidneys
can no longer do the job. The two types of dialysis are: hemodialysis
dialysis. In hemodialysis, the patient's blood is passed through a tube into
a machine that filters out waste products. The cleansed blood is then
returned to the body.
In peritoneal dialysis, a special solution is run through a tube into the
peritoneum, a thin tissue that lines the cavity of the abdomen. The body's
waste products are removed through the tube. There are three types of
peritoneal dialysis. Continuous ambulatory peritoneal dialysis (CAPD), the
most common type, needs no machine and can be done at home. Continuous
cyclic peritoneal dialysis (CCPD) uses a machine and is usually performed at
night when the person is sleeping. Intermittent peritoneal dialysis (IPD)
uses the same type of machine as CCPD, but is usually done in the hospital
because treatment takes longer. Hemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis may be
used to treat people with diabetes who have kidney failure.
Diastolic Blood Pressure
See: Meal plan.
An expert in nutrition who helps people with special health needs plan
the kinds and amounts of foods to eat. A registered dietitian (R.D.) has
special qualifications. The health care team for diabetes should include a
dietitian, preferably an R.D.
Dilated Pupil Examination
A necessary part of an examination for diabetic eye disease. Special
drops are used to enlarge the pupils, enabling the doctor to view the back
of the eye for damage.
Distal Sensory Neuropathy
A drug that increases the flow of urine to rid the body of extra fluid.
DNA (Deoxyribonucleic Acid)
A chemical substance in plant and animal cells that tells the cells what
to do and when to do it. DNA is the information about what each person
inherits from his or her parents.
A condition that causes the fingers to curve inward and may also affect
the palm. The condition is more common in people with diabetes and may