Diabetes Glossary

Blood sugar: The sugar (glucose) level in the blood. Normal blood glucose levels are between 4.0 and 7.0 mmol/L on an empty stomach and between 5.0 and 10.0 mmol/L two hours after a meal.

Hyperglycemia: It’s a complication of diabetes. It occurs when the blood sugar level is above normal values: above 7 mmol/L, on an empty stomach or before a meal.

Hypoglycemia: A decrease in blood glucose (blood sugar level) below normal values. Typically, hypoglycemia occurs when the blood glucose meter reading is less than 4 mmol/L.

Insulin: Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas. It helps the body use glucose and control its level in the blood. Because people with type 1 diabetes do not produce insulin, they depend on insulin injections for survival.

Ketones: Ketones form in your body when your body starts using fat instead of carbohydrates to create energy. When the body does not have enough insulin to move glucose (sugar) from the blood to the cells, the body uses fat to create energy. When fat is broken down, ketones are formed and can then accumulate in the body. High ketone levels (ketones in the blood) are toxic to your body. The accumulation of ketones in the blood is called ketoacidosis.4

Ketoacidosis: It’s a complication of hyperglycemia. It occurs when there are ketones in the urine or blood. This is an EMERGENCY SITUATION.

Glucagon: It is a drug to treat severe refractory hypoglycemia.3  It is used in severe cases such as when the child does not respond or is unconscious, has convulsions, or is so uncooperative that you are unable to give juice or sugar by mouth.

Continuous Glucose Monitoring System (CGMS) : This is a device that has a sensor inserted under the skin, whose function is to provide a blood glucose measurement every five minutes.

Insulin pump : This device delivers insulin continuously through a small tube inserted under the skin.


2 https://www.diabete.qc.ca/en/living-with-diabetes/care-and-treatment/hypo-hyper-glycemie/hypoglycemia-low-blood-sugar-in-an-individual-with-diabetes/

3 https://www.diabetesatschool.ca/schools/glucagon

4 https://www.princeedwardisland.ca/en/information/health-pei/diabetes-ketone-monitoring