Diabetes Research at NYSCF
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According to the Center for Disease Control, a chronic disease is a condition that lasts for 1 year or longer, requires ongoing medical attention, and limits activities of daily living. Diabetes is classified as a chronic disease. Other examples include lupus, heart disease, epilepsy, and arthritis.
Diabetes results from dysfunction in the production and sensing of insulin, a hormone that regulates the amount of glucose (sugar) in the blood. Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease in which the body erroneously attacks insulin. Type 2 diabetes is caused by an inability to produce enough insulin, or the development of insulin resistance.
Insulin helps the body absorb glucose from the bloodstream. When you eat food, sugars from that food are deposited into your bloodstream. Insulin allow for these sugars to leave the bloodstream and enter your cells where they can be used for energy.
Insulin is produced in the pancreas.
Pancreatic beta cells are the cells in the pancreas that produce and release insulin. They are a promising target for drug development and cell replacement therapies, as their depletion is the root of type 1 diabetes.
Blood sugar levels are a measure of the amount of glucose (sugar) in the bloodstream at a certain time. When we eat, sugar from food is deposited into our bloodstream. Insulin then helps regulate the levels of sugar in our blood. If they get too high, one can develop hyperglycemia—a buildup of sugar in the bloodstream that can lead to severe health problems such as diabetic coma and can affect the eyes, kidneys, nerves, and heart. In patients with diabetes, insulin cannot sufficiently regulate blood sugar levels. Diabetics therefore monitor their blood sugar levels through periodic blood glucose testing.