Biology

When you respond to your peers you should attempt to provide robust feedback and to engage in conversation with your classmates.  The following questions might help you to provide useful feedback:

Is information in the discussion correct? 

Do you agree with the identification of homeostatic mechanism parts that your classmate has identified?

Did you find any additional information about the example that you can share?

Jenny Truong

Blood sugar and diabetes

When we eat, our blood sugar increases as carbohydrates are broken down. Consumption of food and breakdown into blood sugar as a stimulus to trigger beta cells in our pancreas to release insulin. Insulin is what is responsible to trigger muscles and fat cells to use blood sugar or glucose as fuel for the body. The insulin will stimulate the liver and body cells to take up glucose and break it down further to glycogen. Glycogen is just another way we store energy for later. As our body takes up glucose or stores it as glycogen, blood sugar will decrease as a result. This brings our body back to homeostasis with an acceptable range of around 90 to 110 mg/mL. It is normal for our blood sugar to slightly rising after we eat, but healthy individuals are able to bring this back down as the body breaks down, uses the energy, and stores it for later uses.

So remember when we discussed the importance of glycogen, imagine it as little packaged energy trail mixes in Ziploc bags waiting to be used as needed. Situations in which we will utilize glycogen are when our blood sugar falls. Our blood sugar can fall for a number of reasons, an example for me is when I work a 16-hour shift and is unable to have any accessibility to food, I am essentially fasting. My body’s blood sugar will decrease and in order for my body to further make it through the next couple of hours, the alpha cells will trigger my pancreas to release glucagon to break down the glycogen that is stored in the liver. When glycogen is broken down, it will result in my blood sugar rising and return back to homeostasis. Individuals who fast will have sudden periods of energy bursts, this is a sign your pancreas and liver are doing their job!

Stimulus: blood sugar level increasing past homeostasis

Receptor: pancreas beta cells

Control center: pancreas release insulin

Effector: insulin triggers the liver to take up glucose and store it as glycogen

What happens: blood sugar decreases to return to homeostasis

Stimulus: blood sugar level decreasing past homeostasis

Receptor: pancreas alpha cells

Control center: pancreas release insulin

Effector: insulin triggers the liver to breakdown glycogen and releases glucose

What happens: blood sugar increases to return to homeostasis

Individuals that have diabetes are unable to release insulin, this interferes with how our body’s energy levels feel and can lead to further consequences if further ignored. Type 1 diabetics are when the body’s own immune system attacks the cells in the pancreas that produce insulin, this can account for 10% of individuals that are diabetic. Type 2 diabetics are when the body isn’t producing the adequate amount of insulin or it is not working as nature intended. You will often see type 2 diabetics in individuals who are overweight but may occur in those who are of acceptable weight. A healthy lifestyle and monitoring your weight can help insulin penetrate body cells to monitor blood sugar levels.

Fun fact! I take a lot of blood sugars on our unit, many of our COVID patients require the use of steroids which can spike blood sugar levels. Close monitoring of patients on steroids who also have a history of diabetes is essential towards their body and recovering from the virus while they receive supplemental fluids in the hospital.

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