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  Back to Diabetes Dictionary Diabetes Dictionary: H

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HCF Diet
A high-carbohydrate, high-fiber diet.

Hemochromatosis
A disease with excessive storage of iron, especially in the liver and other tissues, including the pancreas and skin; it may be genetic or the result of repeated transfusions. Pancreatic involvement may sometimes lead to destruction of islet cells and to a secondary form of diabetes.

Sometimes called "Bronze Diabetes" because of the association of discoloration of the skin and diabetes.

Hemodialysis
A mechanical method of cleaning the blood for people who have kidney disease. See also: Dialysis.

Hemoglobin A1C (HbA1C)
The substance of red blood cells that carries oxygen to the cells and sometimes joins with glucose (sugar). Because the glucose stays attached for the life of the cell (about 4 months), a test to measure hemoglobin A1C shows what the person's average blood glucose level was for that period of time.

See also: Glycohemoglobin.

Heredity
The passing of a trait such as color of the eyes from parent to child. A person "inherits" these traits through the genes.

High Blood Pressure
When the blood flows through the vessels at a greater than normal force. High blood pressure strains the heart; harms the arteries; and increases the risk of heart attack, stroke, and kidney problems. Also called hypertension.

Hives (Urticaria)
A skin reaction that results in slightly elevated patches that are redder or paler than the surrounding skin and often are accompanied by itching.

HLA (Human Leukocyte Antigen)
A pattern of cell surface proteins that identifies the cell to the immune system as 'self' or 'non-self'. Certain patterns (haplotypes) as defined by DNA analysis can indicate a susceptibility to Type 1 diabetes.

Home Blood Glucose Monitoring
A way a person can test how much glucose (sugar) is in the blood. Also called self-monitoring of blood glucose.

See also: Blood glucose monitoring.

Homeostatis
When the body is working as it should because all of its systems are in balance.

Honeymoon Period
The period of time shortly after the diagnosis of Type 1 diabetes during which there is some restoration of insulin production and the blood sugar levels improve to normal, or near-normal, levels. Unfortunately, like other honeymoons, this diabetes honeymoon doesn't last forever; it may last for weeks, months, or occasionally, years.

See also: Ask the Diabetes Team questions about the honeymoon period.

Hormone
A chemical released by special cells to tell other cells what to do. For instance, insulin is a hormone made by the beta cells in the pancreas. When released, insulin tells other cells to use glucose (sugar) for energy.

Human Insulin
Man-made insulins that are similar to insulin produced by your own body. Human insulin has been available since October 1982.

Hyperglycemia
Too high a level of glucose (sugar) in the blood; a sign that diabetes is out of control. Many things can cause hyperglycemia. It occurs when the body does not have enough insulin or cannot use the insulin it does have to turn glucose into energy. Signs of hyperglycemia are a great thirst, a dry mouth, and a need to urinate often. For people with Type 1 diabetes, hyperglycemia may lead to diabetic ketoacidosis.

See also: Euglycemia and Hypoglycemia.

Hyperglycemic hyperosmolar nonketotic syndrome
See Nonketotic Coma.

Hyperinsulinism
Too high a level of insulin in the blood. This term most often refers to a condition in which the body produces too much insulin. Researchers believe that this condition may play a role in the development of noninsulin-dependent diabetes and in hypertension.

See also: Syndrome X.

Hyperlipemia
See: Hyperlipidemia.

Hyperlipidemia
Too high a level of fats (lipids) in the blood.

See also: Syndrome X.

Hyperosmolar Coma
See Nonketotic Coma.

Hypertension
Blood pressure that is above the normal range.

See also: High blood pressure.

Hyperthyroidism
Overactivity of the thyroid gland. One of the more common causes of hyperthyroidism is an autoimmune disorder called Graves' disease.

Hypoglycemia
Too low a level of glucose (sugar) in the blood. This occurs when a person with diabetes has injected too much insulin, eaten too little food, or has exercised without extra food. A person with hypoglycemia may feel nervous, shaky, weak, or sweaty, and have a headache, blurred vision, and hunger. Taking small amounts of sugar, sweet juice, or food with sugar will usually help the person feel better within 10-15 minutes.

See also: Euglycemia, Hyperglycemia, Hypoglycemia Unawareness, Ketotic Hypoglycemia, Nocturnal Hypoglycemia, and Reactive Hypoglycemia.

Hypoglycemia Unawareness
A situation in which the usual epinephrine-induced symptoms of a fall in blood sugar are, for a variety of reasons, either not felt or not recognized.

This situation may be dangerous, as the patient may go from functioning normally to unconscious within a short time. It is generally thought that if such a patient is allowed to maintain somewhat elevated blood sugar levels for several weeks, that the hypoglycemic unawareness may resolve.

Hypotension
Low blood pressure or a sudden drop in blood pressure. A person rising quickly from a sitting or reclining position may have a sudden fall in blood pressure, causing dizziness or fainting.

Hypothyroidism
Underactivity of the thyroid gland. Also called myxedema.

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Last Updated: Wednesday January 11, 2012 15:04:28
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