All about the Pancreas and Diabetes
ranks among the top 10 causes of death in most developed and
industrialized societies. Latest estimates project that nearly 180
million people are afflicted. Fifteen years ago, there were around 30
million cases of diabetes worldwide. Ten years after, the number
increased to 135 million. At this rate twenty years from now, there
will be around 300 million people with diabetes. As such, health
experts and officials have deemed diabetes a global epidemic.
But what is
diabetes and how does it affect the body?
Diabetes is a
disease that stems from the lack of insulin. Insulin is a hormone
produced by the body to process glucose. Glucose is a form of sugar
that the cells of the body need for energy. But before a cell can use
glucose, insulin is needed to process the sugar into a form the cell
insulin, the cells do not get the energy needed to run the
body properly, making a person feel weak. Furthermore, since
the glucose is not used up it stays in the blood, which is harmful to
the body, particularly to the kidneys.
treatment, the complications arising from diabetes are many and severe.
Some of these include eyesight loss (retinopathy), nerve damage, kidney
failure, and in very severe cases, diabetic ketoacidosis (diabetic
There are two
types of diabetes, differing in the cause of contracting the disease,
but nevertheless both are equally serious. Type I diabetes is caused by
the body's immune system mistakenly attacking the cells responsible for
the production of insulin. As these cells are destroyed, insulin
production is halted as well.
diabetes is primarily caused by the body's inability to process glucose
even if insulin is present in the body. This is mainly because there is
too much sugar in the body and not enough insulin is produced to
process the excess sugar. As such, the blood sugar levels rise while
putting extreme stress on the pancreas.
The pancreas is
a gland that lies crosswise and behind the stomach. It is where insulin
is produced and released into the body. Cells called islets of
Langerhans are the primary makers of insulin, and these are what the
immune system attacks in a Type I diabetes case.
In the case of
Type II diabetes, the pancreas is forced to produce so much insulin to
cope with the high levels of sugar in the body. Unfortunately, if high
sugar levels are maintained for long periods of time, the undue stress
may cause the pancreas to break down.
Most Type I
diabetic patients manage the disease by having insulin artificially
administered. The most common methods are pills and hypodermic needle
syringes. Other delivery methods are being developed as well, such as
an oral spray that delivers the patient's required amount of insulin.
Those with Type
II diabetes may not need artificial insulin administration. A different
medication can be coupled with a controlled diet and exercise. As there
is a proven correlation between Type II diabetes and obesity, doctors
and health experts recommend obese individuals to undergo a regimented
weight loss and management program to combat the disease. However, in
advanced cases of Type II diabetes, artificial insulin administration
could be prescribed.
For Type I
diabetes, no real cure exists, except for a pancreatic transplant.
Since the patient's own pancreas has been compromised by the disease, a
new pancreas is needed to restore the body's own ability to produce
have been reported and successful cases of pancreatic transplants, but
the risks and stakes are very high. The chances are great that the
body's immune system may reject the new organ leading to very
serious and fatal complications.
research shows that a good number of those successful pancreatic
transplants involved having undergone a kidney transplant as well. The
mortality rate of patients who've undergone just the transplant of the
pancreas is greater compared to cases of patients who
have undergone pancreas and kidney transplants.
diabetes is highly possible, and extremely easy if you already are
observing proper dietary and exercise habits.
you find yourself leading a lifestyle with little physical activity
while consuming food high in sugar, you should take stock of your
current lifestyle and seriously consider changing. Consult with a
doctor to help you assess your current state as far as diabetes is
concerned. The sooner these are done, the better. As you become kinder
to your body, it will respond accordingly.