Blood glucose levels are regulated by a complex system involving multiple hormones and organs. The primary hormones involved in blood glucose regulation are insulin and glucagon, which are produced by the pancreas. Our body achieves it without fail and if it doesn’t it could lead to severe consequences.
How Is Blood Glucose Kept In Balance? Detailed Steps
Let’s delve into the detailed steps of how blood glucose is kept in balance:
The Role Of The Pancreas– The pancreas is a key organ in blood glucose regulation It contains clusters of cells called the islets of Langerhans. The beta cells then secrete insulin when the blood glucose level rises while the alpha cells get triggered when the blood glucose level falls to secrete glucagon.
After Eating (Postprandial Phase)– Carbohydrate digestion happens when those are broken down into glucose when digestion. In response to the elevated glucose levels, beta cells release insulin into the bloodstream. Not only does it facilitate the uptake of glucose by cells but also the muscle, fat, and liver cells. Excess glucose in the liver is stored as glycogen due to the process of glycogenesis.
Between Meals(Fasting Phase)– As the body uses glucose for energy, insulin secretion decreases. When blood glucose level drops, alpha cells release glucagon into the bloodstream.
Role Of Glucagon– Glucagon signals the liver to break down glycogen into glucose known as glycogenosis. Glucagon promotes gluconeogenesis, the production of glucose from carbohydrate sources like amino acids and fats.
Liver’s Contribution– The liver acts as a glucose reservoir releasing glucose into the bloodstream when needed. It also converts amino acids and glycerol into glucose through gluconeogenesis.
Feedback Mechanisms– The system operates through negative feedback loops. Rising blood glucose stimulates insulin release, which lowers blood glucose levels. Rising blood glucose stimulates glucagon release raising blood glucose. Over time, if cells become less responsive to insulin, the pancreas produces more insulin to compensate.
Other Hormones– During stress, cortisol, and epinephrine can elevate blood glucose levels by promoting gluconeogenesis and glycogenolysis. Incretin hormones enhance insulin release and inhibit glucagon secretion in response to meals.
Muscle Uptake– During physical activity, muscles take up glucose without the need for insulin, contributing to blood glucose control.
Kidney Function– The kidneys also play a vital role in glucose homeostasis by reabsorbing glucose or excreting it in the urine, depending on blood glucose levels.
Influence Of Adipose Tissue– Adipose tissue releases adiponectin which enhances insulin sensitivity.
Role Of Hypothalamus– The hypothalamus monitors blood glucose levels and signals the pancreas to release insulin or glucagon.
Diseases And Disorders– Disorders like diabetes mellitus involve dysfunction in insulin secretion or action leading to imbalances in blood glucose levels.
What Happens If The Blood Glucose Levels Are Not Kept In Balance?
Failure to maintain blood glucose levels within a normal range can have significant health consequences. Both Hyperglycemia and hypoglycemia are conditions that can lead to various complications.
Here’s what happens if the levels are not maintained;
1. Cellular Damage– Prolonged high blood glucose levels can lead to damage to the blood vessels and organs contributing to complications such as cardiovascular disease, kidney disease, and nerve damage.
2. Dehydration– Hypergylcemeia can lead to an increase in urination leading to dehydration.
3. Polyuria– Frequent urge to urinate can be a symptom of irregular insulin levels.
4. Polydispsia– Since you feel the urge to urinate frequently, you would also be addicted to drinking a lot of water continuing the cycle and triggering thirst.
5. Fatigue– Cells may not receive an adequate amount of glucose for energy, leading to fatigue and weakness.
6. Weight Loss– The body may break down muscle and fat for energy resulting in unintentional weight loss.
7. Blurred Vision– High blood glucose levels can affect the lenses of the eyes and cause blurred vision.
8. Increased Infections– The immune system may be weakened increasing the risk of infections.
9. Long-term Complications– Chronic hyperglycemia is associated with long-term diseases like neuropathy, retinopathy, and cardiovascular diseases.
In summary, the regulation of blood is a dynamic and intricate process involving multiple organs, hormones, and cellular responses. This orchestrated interplay ensures that the body maintains a relatively stable blood glucose concentration, essential for providing energy to cells and supporting overall health.