Below is some of the terminology that people in the Type 1 Diabetes (T1D) world know well and use every day in regular conversation and are used throughout this site.
PLEASE NOTE: I am not a medical professional, just a D-mom stating what I know about T1D and the symptoms my daughter Eden exhibits. EVERY T1D is different and as such the symptoms and treatment requirements may not be the same as listed.
- T1D – Type 1 Diabetes
- D-mom – the mother of a T1D child
- BS or BG – blood sugar or blood glucose level. The number reading that measures how much glucose is in the bloodstream
- Carb ratio – the ratio of how much insulin is needed to cover the amount of carbohydrates in food. ie: 1:30 means 1 unit of insulin for every 30 carbs consumed – most if not all T1D will have different ratios throughout the day
- Insulin – the hormone produced by the pancreas that breaks down glucose in the bloodstream or in T1D needs to be given through syringe or pump
- Bolus – the amount (dose) of short acting insulin given to cover the number of carbs eaten or to bring down a high BS level. Short acting insulin is usually effective in the body for 2-3 hours.
- Basal – the steady stream of insulin provided to the body 24hrs a day. Those on an insulin pump receive short acting insulin in a trickle whilst those using syringes or or insulin pens would normally use a long acting insulin and inject 1-2 times a day to cover a 12-24hr period.
- DKA or Diabetic Ketoacidosis – The letters or words that strike fear in all T1D. DKA is the buildup ketones in the blood and urine caused by an extended period of high blood sugars and/or not enough insulin. Ketones are a chemical that are released when the body starts to breakdown body fat for energy and they are toxic. Symptoms include nausea and vomiting, stomach pains, fruity odor on breath and labored breathing. If not treated DKA may lead to coma and death.
- IOB – Insulin on Board – the amount of insulin still active in the body from a previous bolus. IOB always needs to be taken into consideration when checking BS levels, especially when low.
- Hypoglycemia or Low BS – A condition in which the BS is lower than normal range. “Normal” for all T1D is different. Eden’s target range is 120-150 and she will usually display “low” symptoms when she is <80. Symptoms of low BS include shaking and sweating, hunger, dizziness and/or light headedness, confusion and in Eden extreme moodiness. A low blood sugar requires immediate action in the form of a fast acting form of sugar (glucose tablet or juice) and needs to be monitored closely to be sure the BS level rises. Left untreated Low BS can lead to unconsciousness.
- Hyperglycemia or High BS – A condition in which the BS is higher than normal range. High BS can be caused by many things including too little insulin for a meal, a missed bolus, sickness, adrenaline from excitement or nervousness, pump malfunction, exercise and hormones. High BS requires a bolus or “correction” of insulin to bring the BS back into normal range. Symptoms of high BS include increased thirst, increased urination, hunger, inability to concentrate, confusion or brain fog, lethargy and in Eden she gets a spaced out glazed look in her eyes and extreme moodiness. If left untreated prolonged high BS can lead to DKA (see above)
- BG Meter – or otherwise referred to us as a “testing kit” is a blood glucose meter which is used to monitor a T1D blood sugar levels. A lancing device with a spring loaded needle is used to prink the finger, draw a drop of blood to be “fed” to the meter to get a reading. Eden tests her BS levels a bare minimum of 6 times a day but as she is super active reality is usually 10-12 times a day ( we parents test her throughout the night too)
- Testing Strip – for us the little blue strip (depends on the brand) which is used in conjuction with the BG meter to get the BS reading. The drop of blood is fed into the ONE USE ONLY testing strip to get the readout on the meter. These little babies wind up ALL OVER the house, car, backyard, laundry – you name it. These along with insulin are the most needed tool to help us control BS levels – and they are EXPENSIVE. The more often you test the better, but insurance companies (don’t get me started!) don’t think they are important and like to set limits on how many they think we should use.