Pre-Diabetes and Diabetes Glossary of Medical Terms

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Medical Tests


Necrobiosis Lipoidica Diabeticorum: A skin condition usually on the lower part of the legs. Lesions can be small or extend over a large area. They are usually raised, yellow, and waxy in appearance and often have a purple border.

Neovascularization: The growth of new, small blood vessels. In the retina, this may lead to loss of vision or blindness.

Nephropathy: The medical term when the kidneys are damaged due to disease. The number one cause of kidney disease in the world is due to complications from diabetes.

Hyperglycemia and hypertension can damage the kidneys’ glomeruli. When the kidneys are damaged, protein leaks out of the kidneys into the urine. Damaged kidneys can no longer remove waste and extra fluids from the bloodstream.


The number one cause of kidney disease in the world is due to complications from diabetes.


Nephrologist: A doctor who treats people who have kidney problems.

Nerve Conduction Studies: Tests used to measure for nerve damage; one way to diagnose neuropathy (nerve damage).

Nerve Disease: See neuropathy (below.)

Neuropathy: A condition where nerves in the body are damaged. High blood sugar from uncontrolled diabetes can cause damage to nerves throughout the body, causing numbness in extremities, poor circulation (which can lead to infections and even amputation), and even damage to nerves in the digestive tract causing a condition known as Gastroparesis.

Neuropathy can be caused by high blood sugars.


Noninsulin-Dependent Diabetes Mellitus (NIDDM): Former term for type 2 diabetes.

Noninvasive Blood Glucose Monitoring: Measuring blood glucose (sugar) without pricking the finger to obtain a blood sample.

Novolog: A type of insulin.

Novolin: A type of insulin.

NPH Insulin: An intermediate-acting insulin; NPH stands for neutral protamine Hagedorn. On average, NPH insulin starts to lower blood glucose within 1 to 2 hours after injection. It has its strongest effect 6 to 10 hours after injection but keeps working about 10 hours after injection. Also called N insulin.

Nutritionist: A person with training in nutrition; may or may not have specialized training and qualifications. See “dietitian.”