About Diabetes

Diabetes refers to a number of metabolic conditions in which there is a deficiency of the hormone insulin, or the body cannot use the insulin it produces, or both.


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There are a number of "inside" terms that are used within the diabetes community. Most of these somewhat humorous and are nicely explained by Kerri Sparling of Six Until Me in several editions of Diabetes Terms of Endearment (DToEs).

The few explanations here are a bit more serious and to-the-topic.

DKA (Diabetic Ketoacidosis)
When body tissues cannot get, or process, glucose, they break down fat for energy. This process releases ketones into the bloodstream. If allowed to build up, these ketones become poisonous. DKA is a medical emergency. If not treated in time, it can be fatal. (Read the National Institutes of Health article on DKA)
"Dead in Bed" Syndrome
When a person with diabetes will go to bed with everything seemingly normal, but is found dead the next morning, for no apparent cause. This usually happens in children, teens, and young adults — not the group of people one would normally expect to "die in their sleep".
DWL ("Driving While Low")
Low blood glucose (hypoglycemia) can cause a person with diabetes to behave as if he were drunk. If a person with diabetes drives while "low", he poses the same sort of safety hazard as an intoxicated driver. "DWL" is one way in which someone without diabetes can be killed by diabetes.
PWD (Person with Diabetes)
This is usually the preferred term for someone who has been diagnosed with diabetes. Some PWDs are offended if referred to as "diabetics".
Complications (of diabetes)
Secondary ailments caused by persistently high blood glucose levels, or by extremely variable glucose levels. These include kidney disease, heart disease, loss of vision, and loss of feeling in one's extremities, among others.