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TALKING DIABETES

what is Diabetes?
Diabetes, referred to as diabetes mellitus in medical terminology, is defined as a metabolic disease in which the body’s inability to produce any or enough insulin or the body’s inability to process or respond to insulin causes elevated levels of glucose in the blood. The most common types of diabetes are gestational diabetes, prediabetes, Type 1 diabetes, and Type 2 diabetes. Diabetes is considered a metabolism disorder. Metabolism is the bodily process of digesting or breaking down food into fats, proteins, and carbohydrates for energy and growth. Carbohydrates, found in bread, pasta, fruits, vegetables, milk, and sweets, are broken down into a simpler form called glucose. Glucose is a form of sugar in the blood used to provide fuel and energy to the cells of the body.

Normally, after food is digested, the glucose from processed carbohydrates passes through the walls of the intestine and is released into the bloodstream, thus raising blood sugar levels. The bloodstream carries glucose to the cells throughout the body. In order for cells to absorb the glucose for energy, a peptide hormone called insulin is needed. Insulin, produced and regulated by beta cells in the pancreas, is the key that unlocks the door of a cell, allowing the glucose to enter the cell, thus lowering blood sugar levels in the body. Excess glucose is also stored in the liver and skeletal muscles as glycogen. Fat cells or adipocytes store glucose as triglycerides.

The pancreas, not only, controls insulin production to lower blood glucose levels, it has alpha cells that produce and regulate another peptide hormone called glucagon to raise blood glucose level. Glucagon causes the liver to convert glycogen into glucose and release the glucose into the bloodstream, thus raising the blood sugar levels in the body.

Therefore, the pancreas plays a vital part in controlling the body’s blood glucose level. The pancreas provides a constant supply of insulin to the body to remove excess glucose from the blood. When blood glucose falls below a certain level, the pancreas provides glucagon which converts glycogen into glucose. Insulin and glucagon are part of a feedback system that keeps blood glucose levels at a stable level preventing the body from using body fat as energy.