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* AWARENESS


THE ROLE OF INSULIN The way your body functions when you have diabetes has been very well studied and understood. The job of insulin is to reduce blood sugar levels and to prevent certain chemi- cal reactions from taking place. After a meal, insulin is secreted by the pancreas to help reduce blood sugars. At the same time, insulin also functions to help the body store energy in the form of fat cells called lipids through a process known as lipogen- esis. These fat cells function to store energy so, during times of hunger, energy can be burned from your fat cells to maintain metabolism.


When insulin is not function- ing properly (either because it is no longer being secreted by your pancreas in adequate amounts, as in type 1 diabetes, or because your body has become desensi- tized to it, as in type 2 diabetes), these protective pathways no longer function properly. Conse- quently, after a meal blood sugar levels tend to rise.


Also, perhaps even more dangerous, is when insulin is no longer able to encourage the de- velopment of fat cells, resulting in an excessive breakdown of fat cells. This, in part, explains why people with type 1 diabetes (who do not produce enough insulin) tend to be thinner than those with type 2 diabetes (who still do produce insulin). When this happens, fat cells are eventually burned into en- ergy that results in the produc- tion of lactic acid. If this process continues unchecked, a life- threatening condition known as diabetic ketoacidosis can occur. The treatment for diabetic ke- toacidosis is to give continuous amounts of insulin through an IV to stop your body from break- ing down fat cells and producing additional lactic acid.


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