Sunday, November 10, 2013

Endocrine system

E is for Endocrine system

What is the Endocrine System?

Although we rarely think about the endocrine system, it influences almost every cell, organ, and function of our bodies. The endocrine system is instrumental in regulating mood, growth and development, tissue function, and metabolism.

The endocrine system is in charge of body processes that happen slowly, such as cell growth. The foundations of the endocrine system are the hormones and glands. These glands release more than 20 major hormones directly into the bloodstream where they can be transported to cells in other parts of the body.

Some of the major glands that make up the endocrine system include:
  • hypothalamus
  • pituitary gland
  • thyroid
  • parathyroids
  • adrenal glands
  • pancreas
Which brings us to why we are discussing the endocrine system in relation to diabetes. The pancreas is part of the endocrine system, and secretes the hormones insulin and glucagon to control blood sugar levels throughout the day. (Information source: KidsHealth )

How Does the Pancreas Relate to Diabetes?
Simply put, diabetes is the result of a deficiency of insulin, which is found in the endocrine tissue of the pancreas. In people with type 2 diabetes, the pancreas produces insulin but the body is not able to use it. Muscle, fat, and liver cells do not respond to insulin properly. This is a condition known as insulin resistance. People with insulin resistance need more insulin to help glucose enter the cells. The pancreas tries to keep up with the increased demand for insulin, but eventually fails to produce enough to do so. This causes excess glucose to build up in the bloodstream. Over time, the effects of repeated high blood glucose levels will damage beta cells, further reducing the ability of the pancreas to produce insulin. (dLife)

For a person with Type 1 Diabetes, the pancreas no longer produces any insulin. We pray every day that a cure will be found, for Jen and everyone else who has Type 1 Diabetes.

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