Now a days one of the most common disease is diabetes. Even though it affects all age group but, still middle aged and older adults are at higher risk.Studies show that about 422 million of world population have diabetes. Few countries who have highest number of people with diabetes are India, China, USA, and Indonesia. Diabetes also popular as "Mother of all diseases" is one of the leading cause for heart disease and number of other diseases. Though its not a curable disease but can be treated and controlled for ever.
There are number of reasons, why we get diabetes. But most common is our busy life style where we don't get time to take care of ourselves. So lets discuss about what is diabetes? How does it affects our body? What are the complications? How we can treat diabetes? etc.
What is Diabetes?
Diabetes also known as (Diabetes mellitus) is a disease in which, body is unable to produce a hormone called 'Insulin'. resulting in abnormal metabolism of carbohydrate and elevated 'glucose levels' in blood.
First of all lets know how does things work inside our body, so when we eat food that contains the simple sugar (mainly carbohydrate foods) our body break downs these food into glucose. So what does glucose do? Glucose gives us energy, or in other words glucose is the fuel of cells (building blocks of life) in our body, and cells need energy for our body to function for example- walking, talking, thinking, writing and every thing we do in our daily life is because our cell have energy which comes from glucose. In short, what we eat get breaks down to glucose and later for "cells food".
But glucose going into the body cells is not an easy process. Insulin plays a vital role here, as our body needs Insulin to get glucose into our cells and store it for later.
How body makes glucose?
When we eat food rich in carbohydrates like rice, potato, bread etc, the food travels down to our stomach. In the stomach the digestive enzymes and acid breaks down the food into small pieces, and the glucose is released. Then the food travel to intestine where the glucose is absorbed and passed to the blood stream. Once the glucose is in the blood the Insulin helps it to get into the cells.
When the glucose is in the blood stream it is known as the blood glucose or blood sugar. Increase in blood glucose signals the pancreas to produce Insulin. The Insulin tells the cells throughout our body to take glucose from our bloodstream. As the glucose moves into our cells, our blood glucose level goes down. Most of the cells in our body use glucose for energy, after our body has used the energy it needs, the leftover glucose is stored as glycogen in the liver and muscles.
How Glycogen works?
When we do not eat for several hours, our blood glucose level drops. Pancreas stops producing insulin. Alpha cells in pancreas begin to produce a different hormone called glucagon, this signals the liver to break down stored glycogen and turn it back to glucose. Again this glucose travels to our bloodstream to replenish our supply till we eat again.
What are Glycogen and Glucagon?
When glucose is used as energy, the leftover glucose is changed to Glycogen to get stored easily in our liver and muscle for later use.
Glucagon is a hormone which work with other hormones to control the glucose levels in the blood. Drop in blood glucose level can cause many complications, thus Glucagon prevents blood glucose levels to drop to a very low point. This happens when the blood glucose level is really low, the Glucagon stimulates the stored glycogen in liver to convert to glucose, this glucose is then released into the blood stream (this process is known as Glycogenolysis)
Glucagon also stops the liver from consuming glucose, so that more glucose can enter the blood stream.
In short, Glucagon and Insulin work together, Insulin prevents the glucose levels from increasing too high , while Glucagon prevents the glucose levels from dropping to very low.
Role of Pancreas, Alpha and Beta cell?
Pancreas- Is the gland, located in our abdomen. It is part of our digestive system and produces important digestive enzymes and hormones that helps to break down the foods. Also produces the hormone Insulin, which regulates the glucose level in our body.
Pancreas (islet house) has three major cell types-
1. Alpha cells- secrete the hormone Glucagon.
2. Beta cells- produces Insulin
3. Delta cells- secrete the hormone Somatostatin
1. Alpha cells- Is a type of cell in the pancreas which makes and release the hormone called Glucagon. When our blood glucose level is low, the alpha cells synthesize and produces the the hormone Glucagon.
2. Beta cells- One of the important cell of the pancreas, whose primary function is to produce, store and release the hormone Insulin.
Complications of diabetes?
There are many complications of diabetes few are-
- Neurological disorder
- Cardiovascular diseases
- Kidney diseases
- Blood vessels disorders
- Eyes, Foot, Skin problems.
Types of diabetes?
1. Type 1 diabetes (Juvenile Diabetes)
2. Type 2 diabetes
3. Gestational diabetes
Treatment for diabetes?
Diabetes can be controlled by controlling the blood glucose/sugar, through oral medications, Insulin and most importantly diet. Blood test, regular screening and discussing about the medicines and dietary management, with your doctor must be done.
*Disclaimer- This article is written to provide only information and general idea.
This article should not be used, to diagnose or treat any medical condition.
Please consult your healthcare provider before any diagnosis, treatment or medication.
The statistical information given is taken from internet sources.