A type of ketone (see ketone bodies).


A drop in the blood’s pH (acidity).

Ancanthosis nigricans

Discoloration of the skin, often dark patches, that appear on the neck or under the arms.

Ancanthosis nigricans

Discoloration of the skin, often dark patches, that appear on the neck or under the arms.


Medications in tablet form that help control diabetes.


Large blood vessels that carry oxygenated blood from the heart to the various parts of the body.


Thickening, hardening and loss of elasticity in the walls of the arteries.


The accumulation of fatty deposits (plaque) on the arterial walls.

Autonomic nervous system

The part of the nervous system that controls the body’s vital functions and involuntary actions.


Blood cholesterol

A fatty substance found in the blood, produced primarily by the body. Only a small portion of dietary cholesterol is found in the blood. Blood (or serum) cholesterol is affected by the consumption of fat in general, particularly saturated and trans fats. Blood cholesterol becomes harmful when present in excessive amounts.

Blood pressure

The pressure exerted by the blood in the arteries. It is expressed by two numbers. Systolic pressure is the higher number and represents the pressure when the heart contracts to pump the blood. Diastolic pressure is the lower number and represents the pressure when the heart relaxes, when it fills with blood between two contractions.

Body Mass Index

An indicator to assess the risk of developing chronic diseases, such as diabetes, based on the ratio between a person’s weight and height. BMI=Weight (kg)/Height (m)2.



Tiny blood vessels that join the arteries and veins.


A term that encompasses all the different sugars, both simple and complex.


Everything to do with the heart and blood vessels.


The smallest unit of a living organism. The human body’s tissues and organs are composed of cells.

Chronic (disease)

Describes a disease that develops slowly over a long period of time and lasts a person’s lifetime. Diabetes is a chronic disease. It cannot be cured, but it can be controlled.


Dietary cholesterol

A fatty substance found in animal-based foods.

Dietary fibre

A component of plants. Some types of dietary fibre can slow the absorption of sugars, help to lower blood cholesterol, prevent constipation and encourage the growth of good bacteria in the intestines.


An abnormal amount of lipids (e.g., cholesterol and/or fat) in the blood, measured with a blood test analyzed in a laboratory.



Swelling, puffiness.


A doctor specializing in diseases of the endocrine (hormonal) system and glands, such as the thyroid, pancreas, adrenal glands, etc.


Any type of physical activity whose purpose is to increase a person’s fitness, including organized and structured classes, sports and recreational activities.


Fatty Acids

Items comprising fat. They come in various forms: monounsaturated, polyunsaturated, saturated and trans.



A hormone produced by the pancreas. Its function is to increase the level of glucose (sugar) in the blood. Can be administered by injection in cases of severe hypoglycemia.


A simple sugar providing one of the body’s main sources of energy.

Glycated (or glycosylated) hemoglobin (A1C)

The percentage of hemoglobin to which glucose (sugar) is bound. A laboratory-analyzed blood test measuring A1C can determine how well a person has controlled his diabetes over the previous three months.


Blood glucose (sugar) level.


The presence of glucose (sugar) in the urine.


HDL cholesterol

Often called “good” cholesterol. Produced by the body, it is a carrier that removes cholesterol from the blood and takes it to the liver. A high level of HDL (High Density Lipoprotein) cholesterol can help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.

High blood pressure (hypertension)

Higher-than-normal arterial blood pressure. The heart must work harder to circulate the blood through the blood vessels. High blood pressure is a risk factor for heart disease.


A substance, produced by a gland, which acts on the function of specific organs in the body.


Higher-than-normal blood (serum) cholesterol levels.


Higher-than-normal blood glucose (sugar) levels.


The presence of excessive insulin in the body, caused by an over-production of insulin by the pancreas or too much injected insulin.

Hyperosmolar Hyperglycemic State (HHS)

A serious state of dehydration and hyperglycemia. Normally occurs in people with poorly controlled type 2 diabetes. Requires an emergency response.


Higher-than-normal levels of triglycerides in the blood.


Lower-than-normal blood glucose (sugar) values.



A hormone, secreted by the pancreas, that lowers the level of glucose (sugar) in the blood by letting the cells utilize the glucose for energy.

Insulin dependent

A person with diabetes whose treatment requires multiple insulin injections per day (type 1 diabetes).

Insulin pen

A device that looks like a pen, used to inject insulin.

Insulin pump

A portable electronic device that delivers small doses of insulin throughout the day via a cannula inserted under the skin. It can also deliver supplementary insulin doses when required.

Insulin resistance

The body’s resistance to the action of the insulin secreted by the pancreas or injected.

Insulin therapy

Treatment with insulin injections.

Islets of Langerhans

Clusters of pancreatic cells responsible for producing insulin and glucagon.


Ketone bodies

Also called ketones. Metabolic substances produced when fats are broken down. Found in the blood and urine of people with diabetes when they are hyperglycemic. They occur mainly in people with type 1 diabetes.


The presence of ketone bodies in the blood. An abnormally high level of ketones indicates that the body lacks insulin and/or carbohydrates. Often occurs when a person is in a hyperglycemic or fasting state.


The presence of ketone bodies in the urine. An abnormally high level of ketones indicates that the body lacks insulin and/or carbohydrates. Often occurs when a person is in a hyperglycemic or fasting state.


LDL cholesterol

Often called “bad” cholesterol. Produced by the body, it carries cholesterol to the blood. LDL (Low Density Lipoprotein) cholesterol can cause the buildup of fatty plaque in the arteries (atherosclerosis) and is associated with cardiovascular disease.


A needle used to prick the end of the finger to produce a drop of blood in order to measure blood glucose (sugar) levels using a glucose meter.


A term used to designate fats.


Fatty lumps (lipohypertrophy) or dents (lipoatrophy) that appear under the skin at insulin injection sites.


Monounsaturated fats

Fats found in specific foods, such as olive oil, canola oil, some soft margarines, avocado, nuts and seeds (peanuts, almonds, hazelnuts, pecans, pistachios and cashews). They help lower the level of “bad” (LDL) cholesterol and help maintain and increase the level of “good” (HDL) cholesterol.



A doctor specializing in kidney diseases.


Kidney disease that can lead to loss of kidney function. It is a frequent complication of diabetes.


A doctor specializing in diseases of the nervous system.


Disease of the nervous system, and a frequent complication of diabetes. It can cause pain or paralysis. It often presents as tingling, pins and needles or even loss of feeling.



A doctor specializing in diseases of the eye.

Oral Glucose Tolerance Test (OGTT)

A diagnostic test in which a person drinks a sugary liquid and has blood drawn at various intervals before and after drinking the liquid. This test measures the rise in blood glucose (sugar) after ingesting a given amount of glucose.



The gland responsible for the production of hormones, including insulin and glucagon, and substances needed for digestion (enzymes).

Physical activity

Any type of movement resulting in an increased expenditure of energy.

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)

A disturbance in ova production caused by an increase in the secretion of male sex hormones (androgens). The ova turn into cysts and accumulate in the ovaries.

Polyunsaturated fats

Fats found in specific foods, such as flaxseed oil, soybean oil, sunflower seed oil, safflower oil and corn oil, some soft margarines, fish, certain nuts and seeds (walnuts, pine nuts, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and flaxseed). These fats help lower the level of “bad” (LDL) cholesterol. They contain Omega-6 and Omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential for the body’s health.


A specific element found in the cells of all living creatures. Proteins are necessary for building, repairing and renewing every organ of the body.



Disease of the retina. It is a frequent complication of diabetes. It can severely damage vision and, in the most serious cases, lead to blindness.



The sensation of feeling full after a meal. The opposite signal to hunger.

Saturated fats

Fats contained in specific animal-based foods such as dairy products (milk, cheese, cream, etc.), meat, lard, as well as coconut oil, palm kernel oil and palm oil. These fats contribute to the rise in “bad” (LDL) cholesterol.

Sugar substitutes

Substances that have a very sweet taste with no or very few calories. Sugar substitutes generally have little effect on blood glucose (sugar) levels.


(See sugar substitutes).


Trans (or hydrogenated) fats

Fats contained in specific, processed foods made with hydrogenated vegetable oils, shortening, or margarine made with partially hydrogenated oil. These fats are found in such commercially produced foods as cookies, muffins, donuts, croissants, pastries and granola bars. They contribute to the rise in “bad” (LDL) cholesterol and reduce the level of “good” (HDL) cholesterol.


A type of fat found in the blood and in the body’s fat stores.



Blood vessels that transport unoxygenated blood to the heart.