What Is Diabetes?

At the center of diabetes is the organ called the pancreas. It is responsible for manufacturing, storing and releasing the hormone insulin, as well as other hormones and digestive enzymes. Insulin’s major function is to regulate the level of glucose/sugar in the blood. It does this by facilitating the transport of blood glucose into the billions of cells in the body. The presence of insulin stimulates glucose transporters to move to the surface of the cell to facilitate glucose entry into the cells. Insulin also stimulates the hypothalamus of the brain which is responsible for hunger and satiety. Insulin also instructs fat cells to convert glucose and fatty acids from the blood into fat, which the fat cells then store until needed. Insulin is called an anabolic hormone as it promotes growth of tissues and organs. In excess it can cause excessive growth of body fat and of cells that line blood vessels. It also helps to regulate other hormones in the body.

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diabetes-2

The most common form of diabetes is type 2 or adult onset or insulin resistant diabetes. In this form of diabetes, the insulin receptors on the cell membrane become resistant to insulin so that they fail to function appropriately. Insulin resistance increases the body’s need for insulin, which therefore causes the pancreas to work harder to produce elevated insulin levels.  This in  turn causes high blood pressure and damages the circulatory system.

The onset of type 2 diabetes is slow, but even in its earlier stages the abnormal blood sugar levels can cause damage to nerves, blood vessels, heart, eyes and more.  It is a major cause of hypertension, heart disease, kidney failure, blindness and erectile dysfunction.