Tuesday, November 01, 2011


The American Heritage Dictionary has an entry under diabetes, under diabetes mellitus, and under diabetes insipidus.
It defines di a be tes as Any of several metabolic disorders marked by excessive discharge of urine an persistent thirst, especially one of the two types of diabetes mellitus.
It provides a word history for diabetes, which I won't give here (you can look it up) but notes in the history that the first use of the word diabete in English was in a medical text in 1425.

The dictionary does not give entirely correct definitions of diabetes insipidus (where the extra peeing is because the body doesn't concentrate the pee correctly), and I think it's a bit off the mark with its definition of diabetes mellitus, especially it's characterization of type 2 as necessarily mild. I'll share that definition anyways:
diabetes mel li tus1. A severe, chronic form of diabetes caused by insufficient production of insulin and resulting in abnormal metabolism of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. The disease, which typically appears in childhood or adolescence, is characterized by increased sugar levels in the blood and urine, excessive thirst, frequent urination, acidosis, and wasting. Also called insulin-dependent diabetes, type 1 diabetes.2. A mild form of diabetes that typically appears first in adulthood and is exacerbated by obesity and an inactive lifestyle. This disease often has no symptoms, is usually diagnosed by tests that indicate glucose intolerance, and is treated with changes in diet and an exercise regimen. Also called non-insulin dependent diabetes, type 2 diabetes. From New Latin diabetes mellitus: Latin diabetes + Latin mellitus, honey sweet.

I think my dictionary kind of jumps the gun by declining to say what makes a thing diabetes to begin with. Yes, yes- it is a metabolic disorder characterized by sweet pee. Great. But as the definition of type 2 hints at, you may have high blood sugar without having pee in your sugar. Rarely, you may even have sugar in your pee without having diabetes.

Which makes it time for another definition:
gly co su ri a Excess sugar in the urine, often associated with diabetes mellitus.

Fact: Glycosuria causes some of the most easily early and classic signs of untreate diabetes and was historically its hallmark.

Coming next: delineating diabetes


And on another topic- a sensor of mine failed yesterday morning (well in the night- I woke up to a failed sensor) on day four, so I called Dexcom to have it replaced, and for the first time I got asked if I'd been wearing it on the abdomen (the only approved spot). As it happens, I was not (the first failed one that I asked them to replace that wasn't on the abdomen) and I said so. They are replacing it anyways.

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