Diabetes Glossary

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

Browse Glossary: "n"



an oral medicine used to treat type 2 diabetes. It lowers blood glucose levels by helping the pancreas make more insulin right after meals. Belongs to the class of medicines called D-phenylalanine derivatives. (Brand name: Starlix.)

National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK)

one of the 17 institutes that make up the National Institutes of Health, an agency of the Public Health Service.

necrobiosis lipoidica diabeticorum

NEK-roh-by-OH-sis lih-POY-dik-ah DY-uh-bet-ih-KOR-um

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.

Read more about Necrobiosis Lipoidica Diabeticorum 



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



a doctor who treats people who have kidney problems.



disease of the kidneys. 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.

nerve conduction studies

tests used to measure for nerve damage; one way to diagnose neuropathy.

nerve disease

see neuropathy.



a doctor who specializes in problems of the nervous system, such as neuropathy.



disease of the nervous system. The three major forms in people with diabetes are peripheral neuropathy , autonomic neuropathy , and mononeuropathy. The most common form is peripheral neuropathy, which affects mainly the legs and feet.

noninsulin-dependent diabetes mellitus


former term for type 2 diabetes.

noninvasive blood glucose monitoring


measuring blood glucose without pricking the finger to obtain a blood sample.

non-proliferative retinopathy

see background retinopathy

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.


the process by which the body draws nutrients from food and uses them to make or mend its cells.



a person with training in nutrition; may or may not have specialized training and qualifications. See dietitian.


    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.