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Overview of Type II Diabetes and Current Research Diabetes is an umbrella term for several diseases that involve the

hormone insulin and is a disorder in the way the body metabolizes food. Type II diabetes occurs when the pancreas does not produce enough of the hormone insulin and the body cannot use the insulin properly. When insulin production is insufficient or unable to function properly, glucose, produced from the breakdown of food and the main source of energy for the cells, is unable to enter cells in the body. Glucose accumulates in the blood and cells are deprived. This deficiency can lead to a host of organ malfunctions, illnesses, and death if not treated. The body is designed to maintain homeostasis with insulin production and utilization by helping cells take in glucose and convert it to energy. The pancreas helps regulate blood glucose levels. In a healthy body when glucose levels in the blood are high, glucose molecules leave the blood and enter beta cells in the pancreas. The beta cells respond by releasing insulin. Once blood glucose levels are at their maximum, the pancreas slows down insulin production. Insulin enters bloodstream and is transported to cells all over the body where it binds to receptors on the liver which causes its cells to take in more glucose. Inside the liver cells, glucose is converted to glycogen, a storage molecule. Blood glucose levels decrease as glucose is taken up by liver and other body cells. As a result, less and less insulin is released by the pancreas and blood glucose levels stabilize. A healthy body is able to maintain this balancing act. For those with type II diabetes, the body is unable to maintain homeostasis of blood glucose levels. The pancreas produces insulin, but there is either not enough insulin produced or the body cells have become insulin resistant and cannot absorb the insulin they need. Glucose, then, cannot enter cells properly so it remains in the bloodstream building up in dangerous concentrations. Because the body cannot use the over-abundance of glucose, most of it ends up in the urine and wasted. As a result of this process, the bodys cells are deprived of the fuel they need to function and survive. An expanse of research is being conducted by many laboratories and institutes in the pursuit of prevention and cure of diabetes. Among the most obvious of preventative measures to the onset of diabetes is examination and improving a patients diet. Glucose levels in the blood can be monitored and maintaining a healthy diet with adequate exercise is a key component of resisting or keeping diabetes under control. Some curative research areas being studied by biologists and medical experimentation include working with cells that have the ability to re-educate a patients immune system to restore tolerance to insulin and even utilizing nanoparticles as medicinal carriers to retrain the immune system. Other areas of research include experimentation with stem cells that develop into new insulin-producing cells and another approach is reprogramming existing cells to take on new functions such as insulin production.

Works Cited

"About Type 2 Diabetes." Diabetes.com. GlaxoSmithKline, n. d. Web. 7 Oct. 2011. <http://www.diabetes.com/about-type-2-diabetes/about-type-2-diabetes.html>.

"Diabetes Cure-Focused Research." Diabetes Research Institute. Diabetes Research Institute Foundation, n. d. Web. 4 Oct. 2011. <http://www.diabetesresearch.org/page.aspx?pid=618>.

Khardori, Romesh, MD, PhD, FACP; Howard Bessen, MD; Bruce Buehler, MD; and Erik Schraga, MD."Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus." Medscape. 14 Sept. 2011. Web. 5 Oct. 2011. <http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/117853-overview#a0104>.

Martin, Laura, MD. "Causes of Type II Diabetes." WebMD. WebMD, LLC, 20 May 2010. Web. 5 Oct. 2011. <http://diabetes.webmd.com/guide/diabetes-causes>.