Type 2 Diabetes – What Happens To My Pancreas?

When faced with a diagnosis of Diabetes, education is extremely important. The pancreas is often a bit of a mystery for most people. This thing of interest anatomically is located in the abdomen and secretes hormones. The most famous secretion is insulin. However, understanding this gland can help patients understand their diagnosis. The pancreas is known in medicine as an endocrine gland. Its primary function is secretion of pancreatic fluid after a meal. Inside the pancreas, though, are other small clusters of tissue that relate to insulin production. These go by the name of the islets of Langerhans.

 

The islets of Langerhans contain four different types of cells: beta, alpha, delta, and gamma. The beta cells produce the insulin . Insulin performs many functions. It helps some cells convert glucose into glycogen, which those cells use for energy. It helps convert certain amino acids into protein. It works in fat cells to take up sugar and assists in converting it into fat. Did you know it also helps reduce appetite in the hypothalamus gland. Insulin’s role in glucose regulation is how it relates directly to diabetes. Diabetes develops either when the islets of Langerhans stops producing insulin or when the muscle cells begin to lose their ability to process insulin efficiently.

 

Type 2 diabetes develops when muscle cells begin to lose their ability to process insulin efficiently. In normal cases, the muscle cells absorb the glucose and use insulin to turn it into glycogen. In those with diabetes, the muscle cells only convert a small portion of the glucose. For a short time, the islets of Langerhans in the pancreas will increase production of insulin. However, that is not sustainable over the long run. Gradually, the amount of excess glucose begins to build in the blood stream. This situation goes by the tag of insulin resistance. The cells require more insulin to convert the same amount of

 

In those with type 2 diabetes, over time, in the pancreas, the beta cells in the islets of Langerhans that produce the insulin begin to decline over time. The amount of insulin produced diminishes. This increases the dependence on insulin that numeroussufferers in the later time period of the disease develop. To fight against this, medicine research trys to restore the levels of insulin synthesised. One area of research underway looks at the possibility of transplanting healthy islets of Langerhans into the pancreases of those with diabetes. There have been no successful transplants, but it is something that may happen in the future.

 

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This post was written by admin on June 29, 2010

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