Breaking Down Diabetes | Part 2 | Role of Glucose and Insulin
May 14, 2019 | Abigail Mckay

Breaking Down Diabetes | Part 2 | Role of Glucose and Insulin

After discussing the different types of diabetes in the previous article “The Breakdown of the Differing Types of Diabetes”, it is important to dive into what exactly glucose and insulin do for the body.

In order to fully comprehend the essential role glucose and insulin play in the body, it is helpful to look at the entire process of cellular energy starting at the first step, food consumption. When food or drink enters the body, it is digested and then either absorbed or excreted. There is a certain compound known as carbohydrates which are broken down into glucose, also known as sugar.  Once broken down, the glucose is absorbed into the bloodstream while excess glucose is absorbed and stored in the liver. The pancreas, which creates insulin, will release the insulin to pick up the glucose from the bloodstream and transport it to the various cells found throughout our body. When cells receive glucose, which is delivered by the insulin, they will either store or burn the glucose to create energy. 

Glucose is used to power all of the cells in our body, so if our body has an excess or a deficit of glucose, there is a potential for certain complications to arise. As mentioned above, the liver will store glucose and release it accordingly based on the glucose demand of your body. For example, when we sleep or go extended periods without eating, which is called fasting, the liver will release glucose to ensure that our cells still have the needed component to formulate energy.

With that being said, there are a variety of reasons that contribute to alterations in blood glucose or blood sugar.  These include the pancreas not producing enough insulin (as seen in type II diabetes), the pancreas not producing any insulin (as seen in type I diabetes), the liver releasing an excess of unneeded glucose, and the cells becoming resistant to insulin.  Any of these components can work together to formulate the perfect storm, thus causing diabetes.  With diabetes, the surplus glucose left in the bloodstream, caused by any of the above issues, can cause harmful and potentially deadly long-term effects on the body.

Now that you are aware of the different types of diabetes as well as the insulin/glucose relationship, let’s dive in tomorrow to learn about the symptoms and process of diagnosing diabetes. The next article is titled “Symptoms and Diagnosis of Diabetes,” so stay tuned!


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Abigail Mckay

Abigail has been a nurse for five years, and throughout her time as a nurse, she has worked in multiple medical-surgical units as well as spent time in the infusion therapy clinic and endoscopy lab. She is passionate about preventative medicine through patient education regarding nutrition and exercise. Due to her passion, Abigail has gone on to earn two certifications including a certification in medical-surgical nursing (CMSRN) and a certification in holistic nursing (HNB-BC), in hopes of being able to better serve her patients. Abigail earned her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Liberty University in Lynchburg, VA and now bettering patient education in the healthcare system through partnering with American TelePhysicians.