Living with diabetes
Living with diabetes

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Living with diabetes

3 Parts of the body and hormones involved in diabetes

3.1 Introduction

The main role of glucose within the body is as a fuel but it also contributes to the fabric (tissue) by attaching to proteins. In people without diabetes, the blood glucose levels are kept within very narrow limits. The body does not allow them to become too high or too low. Several parts of the body are involved in this process. Some are large, for example the liver, and some are very small, such as the cells within the pancreas. Cells are small building blocks of the body and cannot be seen with the naked eye. In the human body there are many different types of cell doing many different tasks.

Hormones are signalling substances produced by cells that start or stop body processes. There are many different hormones acting all over the body. Insulin is an example of a hormone that is produced by the pancreas. Other examples that you may have heard of include thyroid hormone, testosterone and oestrogen. Hormones that are released into the blood and are taken around the body to where they work are called endocrine hormones and are produced by endocrine glands. Thyroid hormone, testosterone and oestrogen are examples of endocrine hormones and the thyroid gland, testes and ovaries are the endocrine glands that produce them. You may have heard the term endocrinologist used to describe the doctor looking after patients with hormone disorders.

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