Molly’s (Incomplete) Diabetes Dictionary

CGM? Pod? A1c? Are all diabetes abbreviations three letters long? And what the heck do those series of letters mean, anyways?

To answer the former: nope, definitely not! And the latter, well, you’ve come to the right place to learn the meaning of the various abbreviations and fancy-schmancy diabetes jargon you’ll encounter across my blog. Here is my totally incomplete dictionary of commonly used diabetes terms:

A1c – Also known as Hb1c or hemoglobin A1c, this is a test that is conducted every 3 months (or as requested) by an endocrinologist. A patient gets blood drawn to determine the average amount of glucose concentration in the blood during that 3 month period. The result of this test is a percentage amount, with 5% being an average result for a non-diabetic individual. I consider the A1c result to be highly personal, so I don’t often share mine with others; however, I do refer to it when describing ways in which I want to improve my diabetes care and management.

Basal rate – This is the baseline rate of insulin that I receive, via insulin pump, per hour. I can increase and decrease this rate as needed, which comes in handy during certain situations.

Blood glucose (bg) or blood sugar (bs) – No, not that kind of B.S.! Bg or bs is the number associated with finger-stick checks. Every time I use my blood sugar meter, I am testing the current levels of sugar in my blood. The result from this test helps me determine how much insulin I need to give at mealtimes.

Bolus – This word is used when I inject myself with insulin. It basically just means I’m administering insulin to my system.

CGM – Continuous Glucose Monitor. This is a device that I wear that measures my blood sugar every 5 minutes. I wear a Dexcom-brand CGM that is, quite literally, often attached to my hip. It’s a useful tool for when I can’t always test my blood sugar on the spot but want to know where it’s at, or if I want to study trends in my blood sugar levels throughout the day.

DOC – Diabetes Online Community. This is the group of people I have connected with all across the country. This is one of the bright spots of having diabetes: networking with an incredible, diverse, and inspiring bunch of individuals.

DSMA – Diabetes Social Media Advocacy. There are weekly Twitter chats occurring Wednesdays at 9 P.M. E.S.T. that aim to bring PWD (see below) together. The focus of each week’s chat will vary, but often result in awareness being spread and stigma defeated.

DTech – An abbreviation for “diabetes technology”, because it’s a little too long to type out in full regularly.

Endo – Shorthand for “endocrinologist”, A.K.A. the doctor I see for my diabetes.

Humalog – The kind of insulin that I use.

OmniPod – The kind of insulin pump that I use. It’s tubeless and comes with two parts: the pod and the PDM.

PDM – Personal Diabetes Manager. The handheld device I use to program my mealtime boluses and basal rates.

Pod – Every three days, I swap out the wearable component of my insulin pump: the pod. It’s the oval-shaped object that I can wear on my abdomen, thigh, upper arm, and lower back.

PWD – Person (or People) With Diabetes. Every now and then I might call a fellow PWD a diabetic, but for identity purposes, I try to use this more inclusive term. That way, diabetes doesn’t automatically label a person.

Verio IQ – This is the meter that I use to test my blood sugar. It’s manufactured by OneTouch. It’s rare that I refer to it as my Verio, though. I usually opt to say “my meter”.

YDMV – Your Diabetes May Vary. I first heard of this concept through DSMA and I loved it. It simply means that my diabetes will be different from yours, and it’s different from your aunt’s, your brother’s, your mother’s, etc. Just because someone manages their diabetes in a way that works well for them doesn’t mean that it will work the same for any other PWD. I ask that you bear it in mind as you read my blog. Remember that I’m not a medical professional – you should speak to your doctor if there are any elements of your diabetes care and management routine that you’d like to talk about.