- Blood sugar regulation
Blood sugar regulation is the process by which the levels of
blood sugar, primarily glucose, are maintained by the body.
Mechanisms of blood sugar regulation
Blood sugar levels are regulated by
negative feedbackin order to keep the body in homeostasis. The levels of glucosein the blood are monitored by the cells in the pancreas's Islets of Langerhans. If the blood glucose level falls to dangerous levels (as in very heavy exercise or lack of food for extended periods), the Alpha cellsof the pancreas release glucagon, a hormonewhose effects on liver cells act to increase blood glucose levels. They convert glycogenstorage into glucose (this process is called glycogenolysis). The glucose is released into the bloodstream, increasing blood sugar levels.
There are also several other causes for an increase in blood sugar levels. Among them are the 'stress' hormones such as adrenaline, several of the steroids, infections, trauma, and of course, the ingestion of food.
When levels of blood sugar rise, whether as a result of
glycogenconversion, or from digestion of a meal, a different hormone is released from beta cellsfound in the Islets of Langerhansin the pancreas. This hormone, insulin, causes the liver to convert more glucose into glycogen (this process is called glycogenesis), and to force about 2/3 of body cells (primarily muscleand fat tissue cells) to take up glucose from the blood, thus decreasing blood sugar levels. Insulin also provides signals to several other body systems, and is the chief regulatory metabolic control in humans. Diabetes mellitustype 1 is caused by insufficient or non-existent production of insulin, while type 2 is primarily due to a decreased response to insulin in the tissues of the body ( insulin resistance). Both types of diabetes, if untreated, result in too much glucose remaining in the blood ( hyperglycemia) and many of the same complications. Also, too much insulin and/or exercise without enough corresponding food intake in diabetics can result in low blood sugar ( hypoglycemia).
Hormones that influence blood glucose level
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