blood sampling devices

a small instrument for pricking the skin with a fine needle to obtain a sample of blood to test for glucose (sugar).


blood glucose level

the amount of glucose in a given amount of blood. It is noted in milligrams in a deciliter, or mg/dL.

blood urea nitrogen

(yoo-REE-uh NY-truh-jen) (BUN):

a waste product in the blood from the breakdown of protein. The kidneys filter blood to remove urea. As kidney function decreases, the BUN levels increase.



a bulge on the first joint of the big toe, caused by the swelling of a fluid sac under the skin. This spot can become red, sore, and infected.


see blood urea nitrogen


brittle diabetes

a term used when a person`s blood glucose level moves often from low to high and from high to low.

borderline diabetes

a former term for pre-diabetes or impaired glucose tolerance.



an extra amount of insulin taken to cover an expected rise in blood glucose, often related to a meal or snack.

body mass index (BMI)

a measure used to evaluate body weight relative to a person`s height. BMI is used to find out if a person is underweight, normal weight, overweight, or obese.



see body mass index.

blood vessels

tubes that carry blood to and from all parts of the body. The three main types of blood vessels are arteries, veins, and capillaries.


blood sugar level

see blood glucose level.


blood sugar

see blood glucose

blood pressure

the force of blood exerted on the inside walls of blood vessels. Blood pressure is expressed as a ratio (example: 120/80, read as “120 over 80”). The first number is the systolic (sis-TAH-lik) pressure, or the pressure when the heart pushes blood out into the arteries. The second number is the diastolic (DY-uh-STAH-lik) pressure, or the pressure when the heart rests.

background retinopathy


a type of damage to the retina of the eye marked by bleeding, fluid accumulation, and abnormal dilation of the blood vessels. Background retinopathy is an early stage of diabetic retinopathy. Also called simple or nonproliferative (non-pro-LIF-er-uh-tiv) retinopathy.

blood glucose monitoring

checking blood glucose level on a regular basis in order to manage diabetes. A blood glucose meter (or blood glucose test strips that change color when touched by a blood sample) is needed for frequent blood glucose monitoring.

blood glucose meter

a small, portable machine used by people with diabetes to check their blood sugar levels. After pricking the skin with a lancet, one places a drop of blood on a test strip in the machine. The meter (or monitor) soon displays the blood glucose level as a number on the meter`s digital display.


blood glucose

blood glucose, or commonly referred to as blood sugar, is the form of energy circulating in the blood stream. Blood glucose is the end result of digestion, absorption and metabolism of food.



a class of oral medicine used to treat type 2 diabetes that lowers blood glucose by reducing the amount of glucose produced by the liver and by helping the body respond better to insulin. (Generic name: metformin.)


beta cell

a cell that makes insulin. Beta cells are located in the islets of the pancreas.

basal rate

a steady trickle of low levels of longer-acting insulin, such as that used in insulin pumps.