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Glossary - B
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Biliary tract
Biliary tract- the system of organs and ducts through which bile is made and transported from the liver to the small intestine.
Bilirubin- the orange-yellow pigment in bile, causing jaundice if it builds up in the blood and skin; the levels of bilirubin in the blood are used to diagnose liver disease.
Biochemistry- the science that studies the chemistry of living organisms, including humans.
Birth control
Birth control- the regulation of the number of children born, referring either to the prevention of pregnancy (by birth control pill, sterilization, etc) or the prevention of birth (by abortion, etc).
Blind spot
Blind spot- a spot in the field of vision that is not sensitive to light; it is a product of the entrance of the optic nerve into the eyeball, where no light receptors are present on the retina.
Blood-brain barrier- a layer of tightly bound cells that prevents certain substances carried in the bloodstream from entering the brain.
Blood clot
Blood clot- a semisolid mass of blood that forms to help seal and prevent bleeding from a damaged vessel.
Blood Glucose Meter
Blood Glucose Meter- A machine the helps test how much glucose (sugar) is in the blood. A specially coated strip containing a fresh sample of blood is inserted in a machine, which then calculates the correct level of glucose in the blood sample and shows the result in a digital display. Some meters have a memory that can store results from multiple tests.
Blood Glucose Monitoring
A way of testing how much glucose (sugar) is in the blood. A drop of blood, usually taken from the fingertip, is placed on the end of a specially coated strip, called a testing strip. The strip has a chemical on it that makes it change color according to how much glucose is in the blood. A person can tell if the level of glucose is low, high, or normal in one of two ways. The first is by comparing the color on the end of the strip to a color chart that is printed on the side of the test strip co
Blood Pressure
Blood Pressure- The force of the blood on the walls of arteries. Two levels of blood pressure are measured- the higher, or systolic, pressure, which occurs each time the heart pushes blood into the vessels, and the lower, or diastolic, pressure, which occurs when the heart rests. In a blood pressure reading of 120/80, for example, 120 is the systolic pressure and 80 is the diastolic pressure that is too high can cause health problems such as heart attacks and strokes.
Blood transfusion
Blood transfusion- the transfer of blood or any of its parts to a person who has lost blood due to an injury, disease, or operation.
Blood Urea Nitrogen (BUN)
Blood Urea Nitrogen (BUN)- A waste product of the kidneys. Increased levels of BUN in the blood may indicate early kidney damage.
Blood Vessels
Blood Vessels- Tubes that act like a system of roads or canals to carry blood to and from all parts of the body. The three main types of blood vessels are arteries, veins, and capillaries. The heart pumps blood through these vessels so that the blood can carry with it oxygen and nutrients that the cells need or take away waste that the cells do not need.
Boil- an inflamed, raised area of skin that is pus-filled; usually an infected hair follicle.
Bone marrow
Bone marrow- the fatty yellow or red tissue inside bones that is responsible for producing blood cells.
Bone marrow transplant
Bone marrow transplant- a surgical procedure in which defective or cancerous bone marrow is replaced with healthy marrow, either from the patient or a donor.
Bowel- see Intestine
Bradycardia- a slow heart rate, usually below 60 beats per minute in adults.
Brain death
Brain death- the condition in which the brain stops functioning while the heart continues to beat.
Bran- The skin or husk of grains. Examples include wheat and oat brans.
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