In Blog, Diabetes Community, hypoglycemia, Living with Diabetes

An Introduction to T1D Slang

175563453After your diagnosis (Dx) for Type 1 diabetes (T1D), the diabetes online community (DOC) and your medical doctor (MD) will help you learn about BGMs, CGMs, and SMBG. If that sounds like a mouthful, it’s because it is.

It helps to have a sense of humor when learning any new language, and no doubt about it, the world of insulin-dependent diabetes has its own language, and within it, a subset of slang.

It may be confusing at first, not only learning so much about diabetes that you feel like you should be awarded a medical degree, but learning the shorthand for complicated terminology. We’re here to help. Here’s a primer to T1D slang that will have soon have you slinging acronyms like a short-order cook slings burgers.

  • T1 and T2 – The fundamentals. Type 1 (or insulin-dependent) diabetes, and Type 2, the version that’s sometimes called adult-onset diabetes. Though they both share the word diabetes, T1 and T2 are vastly different, both in genesis and in their treatment.
  • TM1 – This means Diabetes mellitus Type 1 or 2, in doctor-speak. (Note: diabetes mellitus is completely unrelated to diabetes insipidus, which is most often kidney related. If you are T1 or T2, you’re mellitus.)
  • DX – Diagnosis.  You’ll often hear parents of children with diabetes talk about life before and after the DX.
  • BG OR BS.  Blood glucose or blood sugar. Pretty much the same thing, but most people say BG for propriety’s sake.
  • DOC – The diabetes online community. You’ll want to become part of it right away. People living with diabetes come together in a variety of forums to share their stories and what they have learned. Got a question about anything related to diabetes or its treatment?  Chances are, someone else has already been there, and will be happy to help you out.
  • DBLOG –  Any blog about diabetes (including ours).
  • SMBG – Self-monitoring of blood glucose.  This is an important part of your daily routine after your T1 DX. (See, you’re already getting it!) Frequent monitoring of our own glucose levels allows us to quickly correct any imbalance by eating more or fewer carbs, exercising, or adjusting our insulin intake. The most common way to SMBG is a quick finger prick to obtain a drop of blood.  (The acronym for that, at first, is OWW. But you get used to it soon, we promise.)
  • BGM –  Outside the diabetes, the acronym BGM means background music.  But for those living with diabetes, it’s blood glucose monitor, or meter.
  • CGM –  Continuous glucose monitoring.  With CGM, a tiny sensor placed under the skin monitors blood-sugar levels constantly, nearly 300 times a day. This is not a long-term option, and does not replace SMBG, but is for occasional use to examine patterns and trends.
  • GI – Glycemic index. A measure of a carbohydrate’s quality, and how quickly it is broken down and released into the bloodstream.
  • GL – Glycemic load. A term coined by Harvard University researchers to help predict the effect of any given food on our BG level.
  • MDI – Multiple daily injections. You may already know about these, even if you didn’t know the acronym.
  • A1c – A blood test that reveals how your BG has been over a period of several months.
  • TMI – Too much information.  An acronym for the rest of the world. When you live with diabetes, you can never have enough. Information empowers.

Did we leave any out? Let us know if there’s one we forgot in the comments!


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