Diabetes Essay

1437 words - 6 pages

Diabetes

     Diabetes mellitus is a condition in which the pancreas no longer produces insulin or when cells stop responding to the insulin that is produced so that glucose in the blood cannot be absorbed into the cells of the body. Diabetes is classified into two categories; Type 1. Approximately 14 million people in the United States alone have some type of Diabetes that is about 5% of the population. In the United States, Diabetes causes nearly 200,000 deaths a year.
     The human pancreas has two main functions: to produce pancreatic endorphin hormones, which help regulate many aspects of our metabolism and to produce pancreatic digestive enzymes. Pancreatic production of insulin, somatostatin, gastrin, and glucagon plays an important role in maintaining sugar and salt balance in our bodies and therefore any problem in the production or regulation of these hormones will manifest itself with problems with blood sugar and fluid / salt imbalances.
Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes are two diseases that can be compared and contrasted according to their causes. Type 1 diabetes is similar to type 2 diabetes in that they are genetic diseases. Recently, researchers have been attempting to locate the genes for diabetes. As a part of the genome project in which researchers around the world are attempting to map the entire gene structure of all the human chromosomes, they have isolated 18 genes that appear to be involved in the production of type 1 diabetes. Not all of these genes have equal potency. Two of them appear to be most potent, some others are least potent, and others are simply auxiliary or helper genes that seem to have the similar effect in the process. There are also genes, which are protective so that one might inherit the genes for diabetes, but if the person also inherits the protective gene, they wouldn’t develop the disease. Thus, development of the disease is not 100% in those who have inherited the genes for the diseases. Those people may have the gene but may either have protective genes or be fortunate enough to avoid environmental stimuli. Moreover there are probably multiple genes involved in type 2 diabetes. For whatever reason, this genetic factor can interact with some environmental factor such as obesity and excess caloric intake. When the person eats, food turns to sugar in the stomach and intestines, and it enters the bloodstream, where it is carried to the body cells. Insulin, which is a hormone made in the pancreas, is needed to help the sugar to enter the cells. Insulin is like a key, opening up the cell so it can let sugar in. After entering the cell, the sugar is used for energy, like type 1 diabetes; type 2 diabetes is dependent on the amount of insulin produced by the pancreas. In type 1 diabetes the pancreas makes no insulin or an extremely small amount of it. On the other hand, in type 2 diabetes, the body neither uses its insulin effectively, nor does it produce...

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