Virus: Diabetes can also be caused by virus infections and a great deal of research is taking place at present into this aspect of the disorder. It has long been recognized that the first signs of developing diabetes frequently come after some virus infections because virus infections place a strain on the body and make controlling of diabetes in the diagnosed patient more difficult.
But it is not yet certain whether infections cause the disease. Certainly diabetes is not infectious; it does not spread through families or populations at any rate higher than that predicted by the genetics of inheritance. The possibility that there are individuals who can quickly develop antibodies against a diabetic-causing virus, and others who. therefore, cannot get the disease, is currently exercising the minds of scientists but still no clear evidence has yet emerged to support the theory.
At present it would seem that the strain of an ille ness imposed on the body provokes diabetes in those who were unknowingly diabetes-prone anyway, and that it would only have been a matter of time before the condition became frankly obvious.
Nerv’ousness and strains —- mental tension — also play an important role in causing the disease. Many diabetics find the disorder diagnosed first after a prolonged period of stress in their lives. Feeling run dovm, exhausted and listless, they approach their doctor for a ‘check-up’ and the sugar is found in the urine during a routine test.
Stress: Here one more dilemma emerges: did the stress cause the disorder or was it there undiagnosed anyway? Some evidence links the excessive release of adrenaline and cortiSone —the ‘stress hormones’ vhth the occurrence of diabetes at a later date, and it is also known that in patients who have to be given cortisone for long periods to treat other diseases, diabetes can su>sequently develop. Anyway, the real cause-and-effect relationship is unclear and the most that can be said at this stage is that there is a link between these findings and experiences but to prove this is not a simple one.
Disorders in other hormone-producing glands — for insulin is the true hormone of the pancreas — are also recognized as being associated wdth diabetes or possibly leading to its development.
pituitary gland, situated at the base of the brain. secretes many hormones that control a considerable number of functions of our body. One of these is the growth hormone, which plays an important role in early infancy and adolescence.
The development of diabetes in children is known to peak at times of maximum growth. Nearly 80 per cent of diabetic children are overheight for their age at the time of the disorder’s onset and the growth hormone is also responsible for the increasing size of the pregnant woman’s baby. Oversecretion of growth hormone may overstretch the pancreas’ ability to cope With a rapidly increasing size in the body or it may be very much Jess simple than that.
By now it should be clear that diabetes is a disorder in which the pancreas and its secretion of insulin are mainly involved. Insulin comes from the special groups of cells in the pancreas called the islet cells of Langerhans. It is the insulin which controls the levels of sugar in the blood and, in the normal healthy hue man who has not eaten for a specific period of 8 hours, that sugar level is consistantly around 60 to 90 sugar per 100 mlt. of blood.
Sugar level up
Sugar level up: The blood sugar rises after a meal and this makes the release of insulin from pancreas increase an hour or two later. but in diabeUc this normal control mechanism fails.
We have to eat to provide ourselves with fuel for maintaining our functions, for growth and for energy. The main parts of our diet are protein and carbohydrate. When there is a defect in any of our body’s capabilities of absorbing and using any of these main constituents of food, then the effect of the disorder will be to alter the absorption of the others. Thus a protein-absorption abnormality affect of the disorder will alter the absorption of the others. Thus a protein-absorption abnormality affects our body’s use of fats, a fat intolerance affects the carbohydrates. and diabetes, which is a carbohydrate absorption abnormality, affects both the others.
Our body cannot live and function on one type of foodstuff alone. The process of using up food in the body and the change (or breakdown) of the chemical constituents of food into energy and then the getting rid of waste by exertion as water, solids or carbon dioxide is called metabolisnu A carbohydrate in the digestive system (bread, cereal, sugar, potatoes, sweets and other sources) is first broken down into glucose by the saliva of our mouth and then those of the stomach and the intesUnes.
‘Illis glucose circulates in the blood and is carried throughout the body to every cell, from the brain to the growing toenail. Within two to three hours of the high blood sugar level that develops after a meal. the excess of blood sugar is taken up by the cells and chemically changed once more. Here insulin is necessary for this transfer of glucose from blood to cell. In the cell, the glucose is chemically altered by means of special substances called enzymes to either give energ or to be stored as glycogen.
Burning up the glucose as a fuel for the cells’ enerot releases water and carbon dioxide and these are later carried away by the bloodstream to be excreted through the kidney or by our exhaled breath.
Glycogen is a special form of converted glucose that can be used at a later time by the cell when its energ requirements increase.