What is Diabetes mellitus?
Diabetes mellitus, commonly called diabetes, is a chronic disease. Diabetes is a defect in carbohydrate metabolism that results from insufficient pancreatic insulin production. The hormone insulin is required to transport glucose into cells, where the sugar converts into energy. Without insulin, glucose circulates and accumulates in the blood until it is eventually execrated in the urine. Dangerous symptoms occur when the body attempts to dilute very high blood glucose levels. The water pulls from cells, and with it comes potassium. A severe potassium deficiency may produce coma and even death.
What's the Pancreas?
In addition to its digestive functions, the Pancreas secretes two important hormones. Insulin and glucagon both are crucial for the normal regulation of glucose, lipid, and protein metabolism. Although the Pancreas secretes other hormones such as amylin, somatostatin, and pancreatic polypeptide, their functions are not established.
Insulin and its metabolic effects:
Historically, insulin has been associated with blood sugar, and true enough, insulin has profound effects on carbohydrate metabolism. However, fat metabolism abnormalities that cause acidosis and arteriosclerosis are also a significant cause of morbidity and death in diabetic patients. So, in patients with prolonged, untreated diabetes, diminished ability to synthesize proteins leads to wasting tissues and many cellular functional disorders. Therefore, it's clear that insulin affects fat and protein metabolism almost as much as carbohydrate metabolism.
Glucagon and Its Functions:
Glucagon, a hormone secreted by the alpha of Langerhans' islets when the blood glucose concentration falls, has several functions that are diametrically opposed to those of insulin. The most important of these functions is increasing blood glucose concentration, which is the opposite of that of insulin. Like insulin, glucagon is a large polypeptide and is also called the hyperglycemic hormone.
In type 2 diabetes, also called adult-onset or non-insulin-dependent diabetes, hyperglycemia may result from a relative deficiency of insulin, insulin resistance, or a combination of these factors, although some type 2 diabetics have normal or even elevated insulin levels in the face of insulin resistance. In type 1 diabetes, also called Juvenile onset or insulin-dependent diabetes, hyperglycemia results from a complete or almost complete lack of insulin secondary to the autoimmune destruction of the insulin-producing pancreatic beta cells.