Title

Life with T1D

Diabetes Slang: IYKYK “If You Know You Know”

In case you were wondering (ICYWW), we have all the type 1 diabetes (T1D) slang you need to know right here. No matter your familiarity with the inside terminology of "Mister D," this list of diabetes slang will surely enhance your ability to understand commonly used D-idioms and maybe even help you sound hip in the process.

Diabetes Slang: IYKYK “If You Know You Know”

In today’s society, there are many new trends and fads that seem impossible to keep up with. The fashion industry is ever-changing, often imitating styles of the past. New beauty products claim fame and fly off the shelves, only to lose their luster after time. New reality shows, and influencers whose blog posts go viral seem to pop up overnight. Though typically associated with young people and the ever-changing trends, slang moves beyond commonly used conversational phrases. The world of medicine is not shy to the world of slang, and many slang terms surround diabetes!

The Meaning of Slang

One definition of slang is the vocabulary used by people from the same social groups. The diabetes online community (DOC) is one such group where the members share information, resources and support.

Unlike current trends, slang terms are fad-like and often generational but never seem to fade from relevance. Built on the principle of generational differences, slang terms are frequently different depending on the period, but they’ve always existed. Especially today, when new words or verbiage can be shared overnight worldwide, slang words are incredibly relevant.

T1D Slang

Here’s our comprehensive list of some familiar and not-so-well-known turn of phrases all T1Ds should know.

Basal and Bolus

These two terms refer to the administration of insulin. While bolus refers to the lump sum of fast-acting insulin given for carbohydrates, a basal rate refers to the slow-acting insulin gradually administered throughout the day. Whether a pump or pen is used to provide insulin, both devices are crucial in managing blood glucose levels.

Crashing

“Crashing” refers to a sudden drop in one’s blood glucose. Whether the steep drop goes from 200 mmol/L to 100 mmol/L or 100 mmol/L to 50 mmol/L, any fast drop in your blood glucose level is considered a crash. Any drastic change in blood sugar should be checked with a blood glucose monitor (BGM) for accuracy. Crashes should be treated immediately with fast-acting carbohydrates.

Twilight Zone High

The is the tern for a high blood sugar episode that has no rhyme or reason. You've done everything you should, exactly as you did before, but your blood glucose isn't cooperating and the reason is a mystery.

Dawn Phenomenon

This slang term refers to the odd occurrence in the early morning hours, during which hormones may cause a T1D's blood glucose levels to rise. Though unavoidable, using a blood glucose meter or continuous glucose monitor (CGM) is crucial in correcting these pesky highs before they cause any issues as the day progresses.

Diabetes – T1D and T2D

Though not often considered slang, “diabetes” is short for diabetes mellitus, the full medical name for diabetes. Diabetes mellitus not only includes individuals with type 1 diabetes but also includes type 2 diabetes, gestational diabetes, and other less common forms. Mister D, Sir Mellitus, Mr. X, Hannibal (Lecter) and the Wizard of Oz are all nicknames for diabetes.

Diabuddy

This term refers to a fellow friend who also shares navigating the fun challenges of diabetes. Whether you’ve known them your whole life or just met them, a diabuddy is special, as they are one of the few people who understand what it is like to carry the burden of type 1 diabetes. 

Diaversary

To a person with type 1 diabetes, this day is often up there with their birthday. A play on the word anniversary, a diaversary is the recurring anniversary of one’s diagnosis date. Frequently celebrated with cake and balloons, this day commemorates all of the hard work and courage that comes with being a person with type 1 diabetes.

Endo

This slang term is short for an endocrinologist, who is, for purposes of this list, a diabetes doctor. Whether helping you get your hands on your first insulin pump or navigating blood glucose monitoring with the help of a CGM, a good endo is crucial in the day-to-day success of a person with type 1 diabetes.

Pro Tip: No hard fast rule says you must stay with the endo assigned to you at the hospital. Check your insurance network and find one you like and trust.

Free Food

The idea of “free food” is similar to how it sounds and essentially represents any food that can be eaten without needing to administer insulin. Whether this is because the food is basically void of carbs or because you are trying to raise your blood sugar, every person with type 1 diabetes understands the joy that comes with eating free food.

According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), some free foods include:

  • Sugar-free or diet-carbonated beverages and water
  • Coffee or tea
  • One cup of raw vegetables (lettuce, cucumber, spinach, radishes)
  • Two tablespoons of whipped cream with sugar-free Jell-O
  • Sugar-free hard candy or gum
  • Lean turkey/meats

Gusher

Though a fun word to say, the idea of a gusher is not pleasant in the diabetes world. As people with type 1 diabetes often have to perform a blood test by pricking their fingers to determine a blood glucose value, a gusher refers to the seemingly never-ending bleeding that comes from pricking blood vessels a little too deep. Though essentially harmless, gushers are a known annoyance. As are bleeders you get with bad pump sites.

Honeymoon Phase

Though it shares the same name as the week-long post-wedding vacation in a sunny destination, honeymooning in the T1D world is very different and often much longer. The honeymoon phase refers to the period shortly after being diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, during which a person’s body continues to produce insulin for a limited time. This could last anywhere from six months to several years; this period also serves as a short break from the reality of what diabetes entails.

Hypo Hangover

Much like a normal alcohol-induced hangover, a hypo hangover leaves you feeling tired, weak, and regretting the night before. The only difference is this hangover is rarely your fault! You know those nights when you can’t seem to catch a break from the low blood sugar alarms blaring every five minutes? Yeah, the next exhausted morning is known as a hypo hangover. As good sleep is crucial to the next day’s performance, as well as the long-term stability of one’s immune system, these middle-of-the-night hypos are notoriously the worst.

“I’m High” and “I’m Low”

Now, these phrases are pretty easy. If someone were to comment that they were “high,” this means that their blood glucose has increased beyond the 180 mmol/L mark, and if they are “low,” their blood sugar has decreased below the 70 mmol/L mark. Though these values could differ slightly, the principle rings true regardless.

Podder

A “podder” is a slang term for someone who proudly wears their Omnipod. Whether it’s the Omnipod Dash or Omnipod 5, all users are included under the “podder” name.

Fun Fact: The Omnipod 5 was named the 2023 Patients Choice Award Winner.

Rage Bolus

A rage bolus refers to someone’s rash decision to bolus a large amount of insulin in hopes of lowering a stubborn high blood glucose that doesn’t seem to want to go down. Though this can be effective, more often than not, a Rage Bolus leaves you with a low hypo and a high amount of regret.

Important Note: Rage boluses are not recommended. If they continue, talk with your healthcare provider.

Roller Coaster

Roller coasters often go hand-in-hand with a hypo-hangover. A diabetes blood sugar roller coaster refers to the continuous and very annoying up and down of someone’s blood sugar levels. Whether the rises and drops are Diamondback level or not, the continuous back and forth between high and low values are what coin the term “rollercoaster.”

S.W.A.G.

In diabetes circles, S.W.A.G. is the comic term for a Scientific and Wildly Amazing Guess, meaning an arbitrary bolus/injection for food or beverages where you're completely guessing the carb count. Along with "Rage Bolusing," this is not recommended!

Unicorn

Unicorn numbers are unique because they signify the perseverance and hard work of those with diabetes. Often considered to be unanimous with 100 mmol/L or “perfect” blood glucose, getting a unicorn number is incredibly rewarding.

Other T1D Slang terms to add to your repertoire:

  • Poker – Another name for a finger pricker or someone who tests their blood sugar with a BGM.
  • Dead Strips – Used test strips found in purses, couch cushions or on the floor of your car.
  • Shooting Up – The term for dosing for insulin.
  • Flicked – When you accidentally knock on your insulin pump infusion site, or your insulin pod hits a door handle.
  • Food Police – Individuals who think they know what people with diabetes can and can’t eat.
  • Diabestie – A best friend or close friend with diabetes.
  • D-Mama – The mother of a child with T1D.
  • D-bag – Your essential life-saving kit with supplies and low-blood sugar remedies.
  • Diabadass- All individuals with diabetes. Diabadass is also an online educational platform for people with type 1 diabetes.

Diabetes is Ever Changing

No matter your experience with type 1 diabetes slang, or slang in general, one fact rings true: slang is a fun way to get your point across often in a more concise manner. Type 1 diabetes can be stressful and full of challenges, but it’s the small details like fun slang that can turn something serious into something more enjoyable. So whether you’ve discovered the newfound ability to understand and interpret common phrases used by those with diabetes, or you’ve learned a few new ones to stash away as a person with diabetes yourself, the use of this slang is sure to do the trick in bringing light to the conversation. 

Latest News

Read all
T1D Strong NewsAchieving the Milestone - 100 Articles Published!

We're just getting started! Committed to empowering the T1D community, we continue to share knowledge and stories.

T1D Team

T1D Team

T1D Strong NewsIntroducing Kelsey McShay: A New Voice at T1DStrong!

Kelsey McShay joins T1DStrong, sharing her stories and insights.

T1D Team

T1D Team

T1D Strong NewsCelebrating a Milestone: 1000+ Followers on Our Social Media Platforms!

We've surpassed 1000 followers on social media, a significant milestone in growing our Type 1 Diabetes community!

T1D Team

T1D Team

Read all

Related Articles

The latest news, technologies, and resources from our team.

8 Surprising Things (besides carbs!) That Raise Your Blood Sugar
Life with T1D8 Surprising Things (besides carbs!) That Raise Your Blood Sugar
The Best Fast Food Options for Type 1 Diabetes
Life with T1DThe Best Fast Food Options for Type 1 Diabetes
Insulin Pens over Insulin Pumps?
Life with T1DInsulin Pens over Insulin Pumps?
The Bare Bones on Diabetes and Osteoporosis
Life with T1DThe Bare Bones on Diabetes and Osteoporosis
8 Tips for Traveling with Type 1 Diabetes
Life with T1D8 Tips for Traveling with Type 1 Diabetes
9 Common Myths with Adult Onset Type 1 Diabetes
Life with T1D9 Common Myths with Adult Onset Type 1 Diabetes
Type 1 Diabetes and Eating Disorders – The Dangerous Dual Diagnosis
Life with T1DType 1 Diabetes and Eating Disorders – The Dangerous Dual Diagnosis
Dating with Diabetes: Going Steady When Your Blood Sugars Aren’t
Life with T1DDating with Diabetes: Going Steady When Your Blood Sugars Aren’t
Celebrities with Type 1 Diabetes
Life with T1DCelebrities with Type 1 Diabetes
The A1C and Type 1 Diabetes: What You Need to Know
Life with T1DThe A1C and Type 1 Diabetes: What You Need to Know
Career Opportunities with Type 1 Diabetes
Life with T1DCareer Opportunities with Type 1 Diabetes
Choosing the Right Insulin Pump
Life with T1DChoosing the Right Insulin Pump
That’s my CGM, and I’m Sticking to it!
Life with T1DThat’s my CGM, and I’m Sticking to it!
Roller Coasters and T1D: How to Navigate the Ups and Downs of Theme Parks
Life with T1DRoller Coasters and T1D: How to Navigate the Ups and Downs of Theme Parks
The Rising Cost of Insulin in the United States – A Change is Gonna Come
Life with T1DThe Rising Cost of Insulin in the United States – A Change is Gonna Come
Diabetes and Suicide: The Silent Threat
Life with T1DDiabetes and Suicide: The Silent Threat
Lantidra: A Possible Cure for TID?
Life with T1DLantidra: A Possible Cure for TID?
Emotions and Rising Blood Sugar
Life with T1DEmotions and Rising Blood Sugar
The Sneaky Signs of Diabetes Burnout and How to Beat It
Life with T1DThe Sneaky Signs of Diabetes Burnout and How to Beat It
T1D on the Job – What Are You Obligated to Tell? 
Life with T1DT1D on the Job – What Are You Obligated to Tell? 
Load More

Knowledge Base

Resources

Knowledge hub for advanced information on Type 1 Diabetes.

Learn more

I May Have T1D Rather Than T2D?

Understanding common queries and exclusive information about diabetes of any type.

Learn more

Life with T1D

Strategies to enhance lifestyle optimization with Type 1 Diabetes.

Learn more

Personal Stories

Life stories of relentless individuals fostering resilience and empowering others.

Learn more

Newly Diagnosed

Insightful guidance, strategic tips, and inspiring narratives.

Learn more

T1D Basics

Fundamental lifestyle suggestions for optimal nutrition, emotions and innovative routines.

Learn more

Daily Management

Revamp your lifestyle with our transformative guidelines for Type 1 Diabetes management.

Learn more

T1D Strong News

Stay updated with the latest from T1D Strong: product updates, company events, notable achievements and our future plans.

Learn more