The Alphabet Soup of Diabetes - What Do All of Those Acronyms Mean?

By Mary Green

Being diagnosed with a chronic condition like diabetes not only leads to doctor appointments and lifestyle changes, but also the necessity of learning more about the condition. Enter the alphabet soup of medical acronyms and abbreviations. Although they certainly come in handy once you’ve mastered their meaning, acronyms and abbreviations can be downright confusing and difficult for a layperson to decode, especially those who are newly diagnosed, their family members and friends. We’re here to help. The following are some of the more common acronyms that are associated with and used by diabetes-related organizations, caregivers and PWDs (persons with diabetes). It is not intended to be an all-inclusive list, so remember.....when dealing with medical professionals, don’t be embarrassed to ask about abbreviations, especially if they involve a medication or procedure. AACE: American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists, a professional community of physicians specializing in endocrinology, diabetes, and metabolism committed to enhancing the ability of its members to provide the highest quality of patient care (www.aace.com). AADE: American Association of Diabetes Educators, a multi-disciplinary professional membership organization dedicated to improving diabetes care through education. ACE: American College of Endocrinology, the scientific, educational and charitable arm of AACE dedicated to promoting the art and science of clinical endocrinology, diabetes, and metabolism for the improvement of patient care and public health. ACE also stands for angiotensinconverting enzyme, a class of medication used to treat high blood pressure that can have additional benefits by decreasing protein in the urine, a marker of diabetes involving kidney function. ADA: American Diabetes Association, a non-profit diabetes organization whose mission is to prevent and cure diabetes and to improve the lives of all people affected by diabetes (www.diabetes.org). AGEs (A-G-EE Z): Advanced glycosylation (gly-KOHsih- LAY-shun) end products. AGEs are produced in the body when glucose links with protein. They play a role in damaging blood vessels, which can lead to diabetes complications. A1C: Also referred to as the HbA1C test, hemoglobin A1C or glycosylated (gly-KOH-sih-lay-ted) hemoglobin, this test measures a person’s average blood glucose level over the previous two to three months by showing the amount of glucose that sticks to the red blood cell, which is proportional to the amount of glucose in the blood. Hemoglobin (HEE-mo-glo-bin) is the part of a red blood cell that carries oxygen to the cells and sometimes joins with the glucose in the bloodstream. ARB: ARB stands for angiotensin (an-gee-oh-TENsin) receptor inhibitor and is a class of medications for treatment of hypertension, or high blood pressure. For people with diabetes, especially those with protein in their urine, it also helps slow down kidney damage. Arteriosclerosis: (ar-TEER-ee-oh-skluh-RO-sis): hardening of the arteries. BG - Blood glucose (the measurement of glucose circulating in the blood); also known as BS (blood sugar). BMI: Body mass index. A measure of total body fat, which takes into account a person’s weight relative to the person’s height. BUN: Blood urea nitrogen, a waste product in the blood that comes from the breakdown of protein. A laboratory test used to assess kidney function. CDE: Certified Diabetes Educator, a health professional who is certified by the National Certification Board for Diabetes Educators to teach people with diabetes how to manage their condition. CGM: Continuous glucose monitoring CGMS (also known as real-time CGM): Continuous glucose monitoring system; involves a system that includes a sensor that is inserted through the skin that senses glucose every 30 seconds, averaging these results every five minutes. Sensors show trends in blood sugar; they are not designed to show current blood sugars as the fluid tested is not blood, but fluid under the skin. CHO: Carbohydrate; also referred to as carb(s). CSII: Continuous subcutaneous insulin infusion (delivery of insulin by insulin pump) CKD: Chronic kidney disease CVD: Cardiovascular disease dblog: A blog (web log) about diabetes. DHD: Diabetic heart disease. DI: Diabetes insipidus (a different disorder from diabetes mellitus). DIDMOAD: diabetes insipidus, diabetes mellitus, optic atrophy and deafness. Also called Wolfram Syndrome. DKA: diabetic ketoacidosis [kē-tō-as-i-DO-sis]; a complication of uncontrolled diabetes, this occurs when a person hasn’t got enough insulin and has extremely high blood glucose levels, causing the body to break down fat and muscle for energy, making the blood acidic. The condition is fatal if not treated. DM: Diabetes mellitus DSME: Diabetes self-management education. DSME and DSMT have been in use for several years and are recognized by AADE. ED: Erectile dysfunction or erectile disorder ER: Electronic Record(s) EHR: Electronic Health Record(s) EMR: Electronic Medical Record(s) FBS: Fasting blood sugar FBG: Fasting blood glucose FPG: Fasting plasma glucose FDA: U.S. Food and Drug Administration GAD: Glutamic acid decarboxylase [dē-kar-bok-sil-ās]. The presence of antibodies to GAD (called anti- GAD antibodies) in the blood is an indication of the autoimmune process in type 1 diabetes. GDM: Gestational diabetes mellitus, a type of diabetes that is found for the first time when a woman is pregnant and usually disappears upon delivery, but increases the mother’s risk of developing diabetes later in life. GFR: Glomerular filtration rate. A measurement of the rate at which the kidneys filter wastes and extra fluid from the blood. GI: Glycemic index. A GI value tells you how quickly metabolized a particular carbohydrate (sugar) is, as compared to sugar itself GTT, OGTT: Glucose Tolerance Test, also known as Oral Glucose Tolerance Test (a lab test for diabetes) HBA1C: HbA1c is the scientific shorthand for glycosylated hemoglobin; the glycosylated hemoglobin test shows what a person’s average blood glucose level was for the 2 to 3 months before the test. HBGM, SMBG: Home blood glucose monitoring, also known as self-monitoring of blood glucose HDL: High density lipoprotein (the “good” cholesterol) IDDM: Insulin dependent diabetes mellitus (former term for type 1 diabetes) IDF: International Diabetes Federation IFG: Impaired fasting glucose (a former term for prediabetes), a condition in which a fasting blood glucose test shows a level of glucose higher than normal, but not high enough for a diagnosis of diabetes. IGT: Impaired glucose tolerance (also a former term for prediabetes), a condition in which blood glucose levels are higher than normal, but not high enough for a diagnosis of diabetes. IVGTT: Intravenous glucose tolerance test JDM: Juvenile diabetes mellitus (a former term for type 1 diabetes) JDRF or JDF: A not-for-profit diabetes organization formerly known as the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and, before that, as the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation. Now correctly listed as JDRF . LADA: Latent autoimmune diabetes of adults or in adults, this is a type of autoimmune diabetes, usually first diagnosed after age 30, which is frequently initially misdiagnosed as type 2 diabetes. LADA is a slowly developing variant of type 1 diabetes because patients have antibodies against the insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas. LDL: Low density lipoprotein (the “bad” cholesterol) MDI: Multiple daily injections, an insulin regimen adopted by the majority of type 1 diabetics Mg /dL : Milligrams per deciliter (a unit of measurement used for blood glucose and other lab tests) Mmol/L: Millimoles per liter (a unit of measurement used for blood glucose and other lab tests) MODY: Maturity-onset diabetes of the young, a form of diabetes that usually first occurs during childhood, adolescence or early adulthood. However, MODY sometimes remains undiagnosed until later in life. A number of different gene mutations have been shown to cause MODY, all of which limit the ability of the pancreas to produce insulin. NDEP: National Diabetes Education Program, a federally funded program that includes over 200 partners at the federal, state and local levels working together to improve the treatment and outcomes for people with diabetes (www.ndep.nih.gov). NIDDK: National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease, a U.S. government agency that deals with diabetes; part of the National Institutes of Health. OGTT, GTT: Oral glucose tolerance test, also known as Glucose Tolerance Test, a test to diagnose prediabetes and diabetes. The test if given after an overnight fast; a blood sample is taken, the patient drinks a high-glucose beverage, and blood samples are taken at hourly intervals to determine how the body is using glucose over time. PP: Post-prandial (this means a period of time after eating, usually recorded as two hours but often one) PVD: Peripheral vascular disease RD: Registered dieticians, food and nutrition experts who have met the stringent criteria to earn the RD credential; RDs help patients in the management of their diabetes. SMBG, HBGM: Self-monitoring of blood glucose, also known as home blood glucose monitoring T1D, T1DM: Type 1 diabetes mellitus T2D, T2DM: Type 2 diabetes mellitus U100, U 500: Concentration of insulin activity per unit volume of fluid. U100 has 100 units of insulin per milliliter (ml); it is the most commonly-used strength of insulin. U500 is more concentrated, and has 500 units of insulin per ml. VLDL: Very low density lipoprotein (the “very bad” cholesterol)