What is Diabetes?
If you want to know about any medical malfunction of your body, what you should do is to learn about the normal functioning of your body first. After that, turn your attention to what can happen when something goes awry in your body. If you are a diabetic, you would most probably ask, ”What is diabetes ?” In the case of diabetes, you should find out how your body gets its energy. Then, you go to how the process of energy production in your body can shut down and cause you to suffer one of the two types of diabetes. Then, you may discover your body can no longer produce sufficient insulin or it is no longer able to use the insulin produced.
Food and Energy Production
Every living thing needs food to survive. You need food to have your body function properly. Food is used to build every part of your body as well as enable all the parts to function well. Food is processed into energy, builds and repairs body tissue and assists to have your body function smoothly. However, before the food can be used by your body, it has to go through a digestive system in which the food is broken down into nutrients, the main types being proteins, fats and carbohydrates.
With the exception of meat, carbohydrates are found in all types of food. Known as “sugars” and “starches”, carbohydrates are found in pasta, bread, vegetables and fruits. Proteins can be obtained from fish, meats, and milk. You get fat from cheese, meat, vegetable oils and every type of food derived from cows and goats. In the stomach and the intestines, food is digested to break it down into the different types of nutrients. Carbohydrates are then changed into a simple sugar is known as glucose which can pass through the intestines to reach the bloodstream. The sugar in the bloodstream called “blood sugar” or “blood glucose”. Diabetes is the inability of your body to use glucose or blood sugar as a result of insufficient insulin or a resistance to insulin.
Understanding Diabetes with 3D Printed Protein Models – Video Guide
The Role of Insulin
Glucose moves along your bloodstream to the cells which require energy. However, glucose cannot move into the cells because a thin membrane envelops them. To have glucose enter the cells, insulin is required. Insulin acts as a transporter of the glucose by attaching to insulin receptors on cell membranes. When this occurs, the cells are receptive and allow the entry of glucose. Only with the glucose inside the cells can the glucose be converted into energy by the cells.
As a diabetic, you ought to know what insulin is (see What is insulin). Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas to assist the movement of blood sugar into the bloodstream into the cells in every part of the body. Insulin is just one of many hormones produced by your body. Like insulin, each hormone has its own part to play in ensuring the proper function of your body.
The pancreas, weighing less than eight ounces in an adult, is a gland below and a little to the back of the stomach. It has a long, conical shape placed sideways with the sharp end, gradually becoming thinner. At the end of this sharp end are minute tissues known as islets of Langerhans.
There are approximately 100,000 islets of Langerhans in a pancreas. These islets are in actual fact groups of different types of cells. Among all these cells are a type called beta cells and due to the fact that they manufacture insulin, beta cells are the very important to our body. These beta cells also store insulin and only release it when it is needed.
The pancreas is an important gland as, besides producing insulin, its cells produce glucagon. While insulin regulates blood sugar in the bloodstream by lowering blood sugar to its normal range, glucagon helps increase blood sugar whenever blood sugar gets lower than its normal range. Thus, the two hormones, insulin and glucagon work together, somewhat like a team, to keep the body’s blood sugar at its normal range. The normal range of blood sugar is about 60-140 milligrams of sugar in every deciliter of blood. Certain cells in the pancreas produce enzymes, which serve to convert food into minute nutritional substances which will be possible to pass through the intestines to reach the bloodstream which then takes them to all parts of the body.