Diabetic Dictionary

Diabetic Dictionary

Diabetes has been like a second language to me since I was 7 years old. I forget that when I casually use words like “bolus” and “BG” or phrases like “I’m really high” or “I need change my basal rate,” people without Type 1 Diabetes don’t always know what I’m saying. Below is a Diabetic Dictionary of the terminology and slang present in the vocabulary of a Type 1 Diabetic.

You can find Frequently Asked Questions here and a breakdown of Type 1 Diabetes in this blog post.


Basal, or basal rate, is the way that insulin is slowly released into my body throughout the day. Basal is defined as “slow acting” insulin. Even when I’m not having carbohydrate, my body needs insulin to survive. The main goal is to keep blood glucose levels within target range. The basal rate is individualized to the diabetic based on their lifestyle. For example, the basal rate will be lowered (meaning less insulin) when a diabetic exercises. Exercise brings BG levels down normally, as does insulin, so less is needed.

“I have to lower my basal rate before pilates”

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