Pancreas and Diabetes
The pancreas a long and soft organ which is located in the frontal part of our spine behind the lower portion of the stomach extending from the duodenum to the spleen has an intricate relationship with diabetes. Insulin a major hormone which helps maintain the glucose level in our body which is secreted by the pancreas. Glucose which is the main source of energy for the body, is sent inside the cells with the help of insulin which opens up the cells to the glucose. Keeping the glucose level in our body constant is a delicate process controlled by the pancreas and the insulin produced by it.
Normal Pancreatic Function: After eating, the nutrients are broken down into miniscule particles which are absorbed by the blood stream. When the glucose concentration in our blood stream rises, a signal is received by the pancreas and insulin is released. The insulin allows the glucose to enter the body’s cells.
Abnormal Pancreatic Function: To put it more simply diabetes results from an insulin deficiency which is secreted by the beta cells of the endocrine tissues of the pancreas. In Type 1 Diabetes the insulin produced by the beta cells are attacked by the immune system of our body. With the depletion of the beta cells, the pancreas tries to produce as much insulin as possible to keep the level of glucose down. This is when the symptoms of diabetes begin to appear. Medical studies have shown that though many beta cells are killed off, our body can still produce tiny amounts of insulin for decades afterwards.
However in case of people with Type 2 Diabetes the insulin is secreted by the pancreas but the body is unable to use it, the body builds up an insulin resistance, therefore, needing more insulin to bring down the level of glucose. Insulin resistance is caused when the body cells stop responding to insulin and the glucose or sugar level in the blood keeps getting higher. Though the pancreas tries to produce more insulin to keep up with the body’s demands, eventually it fails to do this and excess glucose is built up in the bloodstream. If the pancreas fails to produce enough insulin to keep the sugar level down, then symptoms of diabetes begins to appear. With time, the effects of increased glucose level in the blood would eventually damage the beta cells which further reduce the insulin producing capability of the pancreas. This type of diabetes develops gradually and takes years for its symptoms to manifest. Further development of the type 2 diabetes could result with the loss of the beta cells from the pancreas which produces insulin. When this happens, it may necessitate the administration of insulin externally.
What happens when the pancreas fails to function properly?
When the insulin fails to open the body’s cells to allow the glucose to leave the bloodstream, it begins to build up in the tissues of the kidney, eyes, around the nerves and the heart which might have very serious long term or short term consequences.
Traditional remedy for diabetes includes diet, exercise, and oral medication along with a regular intake of insulin.