Diabetes Glossary

Browse or search for definitions from our comprehensive list of diabetes terms.

Browse Glossary: "e"



swelling caused by excess fluid in the body.



(EMG): a test used to detect nerve function. It measures the electrical activity generated by muscles.

emergency medical identification

cards, bracelets, or necklaces with a written message used by people with diabetes or other medical problems to alert others in case of a medical emergency such as a coma.


see electromyography.

endocrine gland


a group of specialized cells that release hormones into the blood. For example, the islets in the pancreas , which secrete insulin , are endocrine glands.



a doctor who treats people who have endocrine gland problems such as diabetes.


grown or made inside the body. Insulin made by a person's own pancreas is endogenous insulin. Insulin that is made from beef or pork pancreas or derived from bacteria is exogenous because it comes from outside the body and must be injected.

end-stage renal disease


see kidney failure.



protein made by the body that brings about a chemical reaction, for example, the enzymes produced by the gut to aid digestion.

erectile dysfunction

see impotence.



a normal level of glucose in the blood.

exchange lists

one of several approaches for diabetes meal planning. Foods are categorized into three groups based on their nutritional content. Lists provide the serving sizes for carbohydrates , meat and meat alternatives, and fats. These lists allow for substitution for different groups to keep the nutritional content fixed.


grown or made outside the body; for instance, insulin made from pork or beef pancreas is exogenous insulin for people.


    Our glossary includes and builds on the definitions found in The Diabetes Dictionary (NIH Publication No. 07-3016, October 2006) published by the National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse, which is available on their website and is not copyrighted. The Clearinghouse encourages users of this publication to duplicate and distribute as many copies as desired.

    The U.S. Government does not endorse or favor any specific commercial product or company. Trade, proprietary, or company names appearing in this document are used only because they are considered essential in the context of the information provided.

    The National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse (NDIC) is a service of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK). For more information, visit their website at www.diabetes.niddk.nih.gov.