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How Diabetes Affects The Body’s Power Plant
Diabetes is an illness that stems from damage to the pancreas, a
large organ lying behind the stomach. The pancreas comprises a
number of different types of cells, some of which are grouped in clusters
known as islets of Langerhans.
Within in the islets are found both beta cells, which produce
insulin, and alpha cells, which produce glucagon. Both insulin and
glucagon are instrumental in he body’s conversion of food into energy
that the body can burn and proteins that the body can use to build
Juvenile diabetes, which normally develops early in life, results
from near-total destruction of the eta cells in the pancreas. Adult-onset
diabetes, which develops later, involves damage to some of the cells. In
the case of juvenile diabetes, the body is without any insulin and
dependent on injections of insulin for survival; for that reason, juvenile
diabetes is often called “insulin-dependent” diabetes. Victims of adultonset diabetes normally produce enough insulin to get by, and do not
need injections.
Normally, the pancreas produces insulin when food is
The body uses three types of food fuels: carbohydrates, proteins
and fats. These are broken down by the stomach and intestines into
glucose, amino acids and fatty acids respectively. Arrival of these
substances in the bloodstream triggers release of insulin from the
Insulin helps produce food
Normally, insulin enables the body’s tissues and organs to use he
food substances in the bloodstream. Insulin helps turn glucose into
glucogen, for storage in the liver; fats into fatty acids, for energy of
storage in adipose cells throughout the body; and amino acids into
building blocks of tissue in muscles and other organs.
Without insulin, boy tissues starve
When insulin is absent, the foods in the blood are not converted
normally into energy and new tissue. The body is deprived of
nourishment. The condition can be fatal or cause critical damage to
individual organs.