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Glossary D

DAFNE – Dose Adjustment For Normal Eating is a regime where Type 1 diabetics adjust their insulin intake to the amount of food eaten, rather than the other way around.  DAFNE is run in many countries including UK & Ireland, Australia, New Zealand and Singapore (OzDAFNE), Kuwait (DAFNE Kuwait).  DAFNE also have trained healthcare professionals in South Africa, Spain and Nigeria, although these do not fly the DAFNE banner.

Dawn phenomenon - A sudden rise in blood glucose levels in the early morning hours. This condition sometimes occurs in people with type 1 diabetes and rarely in people with type 2 diabetes. Unlike the ‘Somogyi effect’, it is not a result of an insulin reaction. People who have high levels of blood glucose in the mornings before eating may need to monitor their blood glucose during the night or‘The 3am shift’ If blood glucose levels are rising, adjustments in evening snacks or insulin dosages may be recommended. See also: Somogyi effect.

Dehydration – is loss of fluid in the body (usually water) resulting in abnormal concentrations of substances in the blood and fluids. Too high concentrations interfere with many body processes. Insufficient fluid intake, or excessive urine output or both, are the usual cause. If your blood glucose is very high and you urinate frequently without replacing the lost fluids can lead to dehydration.

Delta cell -  delta cells are somatostatin-producing cells. They can be found in the stomach, intestine and the Islets of Langerhans in the pancreas. They are believed to control how the beta cells make and release insulin and how the alpha cells make and release glucagon.

Dextrose - D-glucose is often referred to as dextrose.like many biochemicals comes in different isomers. In biological tissues throughout the earth, only the dexter form is produced and used.


DESMOND (Diabetes education and self-management for ongoing and newly diagnosed) -- A NHS training course for newly diagnosed diabetics which is freely available in the UK.


Diabetes control and complications trial (DCCT) - A 10-year study (1983–1993) was a landmark medical study conducted by the (NIDDK). United States National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases  It changed the management principles of Diabetes mellitus from the 1990s onwards. It showed that diabetics who had good control over blood glucose levels has less diabetic complications in the long run.


Diabetes educator – is a healthcare person who has the skills and knowledge to teach diabetics how to manage their condition. Diabetes educators may be doctors, nurses, dieticians, mental health or fitness clinicians. Some also have the credential CDE (Certified Diabetes Educator).


Diabetes insipidus - a type of diabetes (excess urination) unrelated to diabetes mellitus. Excess thirst and Urination are present and urine is very pale. Night time urination is frequent as is possible ‘bedwetting’




Diabetes mellitus - A disease that occurs when the body is not able to use dietary carbohydrates as it should, due by lack of insulin, inability to respond to insulin, or both. Excess glucose makes the person urinate frequently, have extreme thirst and increased hunger.


Diabetic amyotrophy - A disease of the nerves leading to the muscles. This condition affects only one side of the body and occurs most often in older men with mild diabetes. See also: Neuropathy.


Diabetic coma - see Coma


Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) an emergency condition in which extremely high blood glucose levels, along with a severe lack of insulin, result in the breakdown of body fat for energy and an accumulation of ketones in the blood and urine. Signs of DKA are nausea and vomiting, stomach pain, fruity breath odor, and rapid breathing. Untreated DKA can lead to coma and death.


Diabetic macular edema - a condition that can occur in either stage of diabetic retinopathy in which fluid collects in the central part of the retina resulting in blurred vision. Macular edema can be treated with laser surgery when central vision is threatened.

Diabetic myelopathy - Spinal cord damage found in some people with diabetes.


Diabetic nephropathy - See: Nephropathy.


Diabetic neuropathy - See: Neuropathy.


Diabetic osteopathy - Loss of foot bone as viewed by x-ray; often temporary. This is also known as  "disappearing bone disease."




Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) - a study by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases conducted from 1998 to 2001 in people at high risk for type 2 diabetes. All study participants had impaired glucose tolerance, also called pre-diabetes, and were overweight. The study showed that people who lost 5 to 7 percent of their body weight through a low-fat, low-calorie diet and moderate exercise (usually walking for 30 minutes 5 days a week) reduced their risk of getting type 2 diabetes by 58 percent. Participants who received treatment with the oral diabetes drug metformin reduced their risk of getting type 2 diabetes by 31 percent.

Diabetic retinopathy - damage to the retina caused by growth of tiny blood vessels. The proliferative variety is dangerous and often leads to blindness.

Diabetogenic – (Causing diabetes) some medications can cause blood glucose to temporarily rise. Some meds could cause it to rise permanently making the person diabetic. Certain chemicals such as rat poison can do this.

Diabetologist - A doctor who sees and treats people with diabetes mellitus.

Diagnosis - A decision as to the cause of some symptoms or problem. In the case of diabetes, the tests are very clear. If you do not have high blood glucose you would not be diagnosed as being a diabetic. Every one has higher glucose levels for one or two hours after eating food which contains some types of carbohydrates.


Diastolic blood pressure - represented by the bottom number in a blood pressure reading, is when your heart is at resting state.

Diet plan - See: Meal plan.


Dietitian - A nutritional expert who helps people with special health needsto  plan the kinds and amounts of foods to eat. In the US, a registered dietitian (R.D.) has special training and experience. The health care team for diabetes should ideally include a dietitian, preferably an R.D.




Differentiation – the process by which an unspecialized cell changes into a more or complex cell that performs a certain function, such as the insulin-producing beta cell.

Dilated pupil examination - A necessary part of an examination for diabetic eye disease. Special drops are used to enlarge the pupils, enabling the doctor to view the retina at the back of the eye for damage. The doctor uses a digital camera to do this and the results can be seen immediately on a computer.

Distal sensory neuropathy - See: Peripheral neuropathy.

Diuretic - a drug or substance which has the effect of increasing the amount of urine the kidneys excrete. Swollen feet and ankles are sometimes treated with diuretics. There are several classes, which act at different points of the kidney tubule.

DKA – is a condition that results from a lack of sufficient insulin in the body, leading to high blood glucose levels and ketone formation. It is an extremely serious and life-threatening condition that may lead to coma and even death. The symptoms of Ketoacidosis are nausea, stomach pain, vomiting, chest pain, rapid shallow breathing, and difficulty staying awake.


Dupuytren's contracture - Dupuytren's contracture (also known as morbus Dupuytren, Dupuytren's disease, or palmar fibromatosis,[1] and sometimes misidentified as Dupuytren's constricture)A condition that causes the fingers to curve inward and may also affect the palm. The condition is more common in people with diabetes and may precede diabetes. The mechanism is unclear. Treatment is limited to surgery and is usually of limited value.

Dysglycemia - any disorder of blood sugar metabolism.



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