Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The Pancreas...

I've decided to dedicate this blog post to the Pancreas. you never really realize how important this little organ is until you or someone you love is hit by a diabetes diagnosis. Sure that little pancreas in the picture here seems very cute and harmless, but I have to say he's a major pain in the tushie, or fingers, arms, legs, tummy (for those with diabetes). Did you know, that little guy is only between 6 to 10 inches long... How can something so small cause such big problems?

So what exactly is the job of the Pancreas?

The pancreas is a gland organ that is located in the abdomen. It is part of the digestive system and produces important enzymes and hormones that help to break down food. The pancreas has an endocrine function because it releases juices directly into the bloodstream, and it has an exocrine function because it helps to release juices into the ducts.

Enzymes, or digestive juices, produced by the pancreas are secreted into the small intestine to further break down food after it has left the stomach. The gland also produces the hormone insulin and secretes it into the bloodstream in order to regulate the body's glucose or blood sugar level.

Hmmm it seems that little guy has HUGE responsibilities. Since you are here and this blog is mainly about type 1 diabetes, with references to the love of my life :D.. You may wonder exactly what is type 1 diabetes (the type Clifford has), and what the pancreas has to do with it.

What is type 1 diabetes???
(Information from Kidshealth.org)
Type 1 diabetes results when the pancreas loses the ability to make the hormone insulin. In type 1 diabetes, the person's own immune system attacks and destroys the cells in the pancreas that produce insulin. once these cells are destroyed they will never make insulin again.

Although no one understands for certain why this happens, scientists think it has something to do with genes. But genes for diabetes isn't usually enough. A person probably would then have to be exposed to something else like a virus to get type 1 diabetes.

Type 1 diabetes cannot be prevented, and there is no way to predict who will get it. There is nothing that either a parent or the child did to cause the disease. Once a person has type 1 diabetes, it does not go away and requires lifelong treatment. Kids and adults with type 1 diabetes depend on daily insulin injections or an insulin pump to control their blood glucose levels.

So basically how I like to look at it is Clifford's immune system got bored and decided just for fun to go attack his pancreas. Unfortunately because the pancreas is such a small little guy, he didn't even stand a chance against the big bad immune system and threw in the towel. So I guess in all of this if there is someone or something we want to be mad at its the immune system. I mean there are way better things to do when you're bored then to go attacking innocent organs.

So there, now you have it. That's the basic breakdown of what the pancreas is and its responsibility for what its role in type 1 diabetes is... Any questions?