August 6, 2011

Little Annoyances – Big Annoyances

This is a topic that has been building over the months and I need to let it out.

One of the biggest annoyances is the writers of medical reports and press releases. When a writer is writing about blood glucose readings or levels, they use the term blood sugar. To me this says that sugar is the main source of our diabetes problems. If your meters measured sugar, then they would be correct, but our meters measure blood glucose.

So we need to educate these writers to use the term blood glucose and make the term blood sugar off limits. Yes, they may abbreviate it BG or BGL or BGR for blood glucose, blood glucose level, or blood glucose reading. They are acronyms that can be used, but please not BS.

Some would argue not to capitalize, but I find it easier to know that it is an acronym and there is a generally accepted meaning for it. David Mendosa has some very good terms that need eliminating from or used correctly in our vocabulary and please take time to read his blog here. I have also tackled this topic before and still see many of the terms continuing to be in use. Read my blog here.

In a blog David Mendosa posted on Health Central, he also discusses some other terms he would like to see eliminated from our vocabulary or used correctly. He discusses the meaning of words in context and there is a lot to be said in agreement with him. I do agree in the use of manage, managing, and management of diabetes. Even David is in changing to not using the term control and its derivatives. We cannot control diabetes, only manage it for our good health.

A lot of the discussion needs to center around attitude and a positive attitude about diabetes. A positive attitude can make diabetes manageable, but a negative attitude can ruin your management of diabetes. If you have a positive attitude about diabetes, you will agree with another blog by David that diabetes is not progressive unless you choose not to manage your diabetes.

Another term that I am seeing again in some blogs is a term that David has clearly and legally defined – Glucometer. This is a registered trademark of Bayer, and unless you own one, you should not use it. Meter is the correct term otherwise. Recently, I had a CDE use this term with me and when I asked if she was talking about the one marketed by Bayer, she said no all are glucometers. In trying to discuss this error, I was told “you are the patient”, “I am the professional”. I promptly ended the discussion by leaving.

I would like to get inside the heads of some of the medical writers and have them use correct terms like mg/dl as this is the correct usage for deciliter, and not mg/dL, which many writers persist is using. I continue to see its misuse.

One term that I am not as clear about is one I see on a regular basis in medical press releases, medical articles, and blogs by doctors is healthcare or health care. My dictionary of choice uses them interchangeably so I am open to discussion on this. I often use them as healthcare for care facilities like hospitals and nursing homes. I try to use health care when talking about caring for your health or discussing the topic of health.

I admit I misuse type 1 and type 2 so I need to stop using Type 1 and Type 2. I have developed this bad habit from using LADA and MODY, but I don't use Pre-diabetes capitalized unless it is the first word in a sentence.

Another term that I apparently misuse frequently by what David has written is prediabetes as he recommends pre-diabetes. Until the DOC can standardize the terms we use, our strength and usefulness may not be as strong a voice as it should be. Am I picking nits – I don't believe I am, as we need to use the correct terminology as a community.

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