Blood glucose is the primary source of energy in the human body, and is the
only source of energy for the brain. The glucose is transported all over
the body via the blood plasma and if there is too much present it is stored
in the kidneys as glycogen (polysaccharide carbohydrate).
The level of blood glucose has to be maintained by the body. Too higher
levels or too lower levels will cause problems in the body. The osmotic
properties of the cell will be affected, if there are high amounts of
glucose outside the cell and low amounts inside the cell, which will mean
there are higher amounts of water inside the cell as there is outside the
cell, so water will move out of the cell and the cells will begin to
shrink. Another big problem is that the cells will not be able to respire
properly as they will not have the correct amounts of energy. This can be
particularly dangerous to the brain cells as their only source of energy
comes from glucose. Cells take up the glucose through insulin this is
secreted by the Islet B cells (? cells). When the cells do not secrete
enough insulin the body cannot take up the glucose properly and problems
will begin to occur.
When the production of insulin in the body starts to break down or if
enough is not produced, problems will occur. This problem is classed as a
disease Diabetes mellitus (sugar diabetes). There are 2 types of diabetes:
type 1, diabetes also referred to as Juvenile- onset diabetes or insulin
dependent diabetes. This type of diabetes starts at a young age and can
cause many complications. The pancreas doesn’t secrete any insulin body
this then causes the cues in the body not to accept any glucose, so the
cell starts to metabolise. Se the next available energy source proteins and
fats in the body (this process is know as gluconecgenesis), which leads to
a build up of keto-acids in the body, these lower the PH in the body and
this can lead to a person going in to a coma.
Type 1, diabetes can be caused by a genetic disorder where the genetic code
for the production of insulin is not present or there is a deficiency in
the genetic coding. The reason why this occurs is a person may get a
specific virus and when the white blood cells go to destroy it they also
destroy any infection and cells, if there is no cells present any insulin
can be secreted. Type 2, diabetes is the other type of diabetes that can
occur. This is also known as non-insulin dependent diabetes or maturity
onset insulin. This type of diabetes is normally seen in lot patients and
in obese people. Type 2, diabetes also seems to be passed on genetically.
With this type of diabetes, insulin is produced from the pancreas but there
isn’t enough or don’t respond receptors on the cells so only small amounts
of glucose are taken in by the cells. This type of diabetes can go
undetected for a long time and people will hardly notice it. Currently type
2, diabetes is being diagnosed is children a lot more, but this is believed
to be linked with obesity. The symptoms are, the same for both types of
The symptoms include:
o Tiredness- unable to concentrate
o Acidosis occurs- affects the PH and enzymes begin to denature.
o Muscle waste ages
o Loss in weight
o Constantly thirsty
Diabetes mellitus cannot be cured (at the moment) but both are treated
differently. Type 1, diabetes is treated with regular insulin jabs. Type 2,
diabetes can be treated through a balanced diet. In both causes it is best
to have a well balanced diet and to eat small amounts regularly. This well
balanced diet has to be maintained. During the day the levels of glucose in
the body are constantly changing this has to do with the food eaten. After
a meal the amount of glucose in your blood will increase, this is where
insulin would be secreted in a normal person, but in a person with diabetes
this would not occur and the glucose levels would remain high, due to this
the cells in the body would shrink due the osmotic properties of the cells.
See figure 2
Figure 2 biology 2 book
This shows how the blood glucose levels differ during the day and what the
body does to counter act this.
Diabetic people will have to monitor their own blood glucose levels. The
person taking a number of blood samples during the day can do this, they
will be able to see if there glucose levels are too high or too low.
Currently advancements are being made to control diabetes or even cure it.
A new drug called ISO-1 is said to be a potential cure for type-1 diabetes.
This works by blocking the protein that plays a major role in the immune
system, which eventually causes the destruction of the beta cells. Using
this drug will stop the destruction of the cells, so they can continue to
secrete insulin. This has only been tested on mice that were genetically
modified so that they would develop diabetes, 90% of these mice did not
develop diabetes. It is still awaiting trails in humans. currently people
with diabetes are having to have insulin jabs a number of times a day. A
new device has been created that makes the diabetics life easier. The pump
delivers small amounts of insulin throughout the day so the body can absorb
it in to the cells more effectively, so now people can decide when they
want to eat and don’t have to schedule it with there jabs. The pump works
by pumping small amounts of insulin in to the blood stream throughout the
day. It is pumped into the body via a plastic pipe, which is put under the
skin near the abdomen. The drug is a potential cure and in a number of
years the doctors have said that they can modify the drug so that it can be
effectively used in human.
3) Coster S, Gulliford MC, Seed PT, Powrie JK, Swaminathan R, Monitoring
Blood Glucose Control In Diabetes Mellitus: A Systematic Review, 2000
4) Dr Antony Leeds, Professor Jennie Brand-Miller, A Glucose Revolution,
7) Mary Jones, Jennifer Gregory, Cambridge Advanced Sciences Biology 2,
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