Jan 16, 2020 in Informative

Endocrine Function and Diabetes Mellitus


Diabetes mellitus, particularly types one and two, affects different functions of the endocrine organs. The most frequent disruptions are those relating to pancreas gland, which plays a vital role in the energy metabolism by emitting the hormones insulin and glucagon that respectively manufacture fatty acids and glucose available for cellular absorption of energy. This paper focuses in detail on the normal physiology linked with the pathology of endocrine function and diabetes mellitus and describes how normal physiology is disrupted in the pathologic condition. It also discusses the way the endocrine system maintains homeostasis in a healthy individual.

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The endocrine system is an exceptional and important part of the human body function. It helps keep the balance of the body’s hormones and their secretion levels. The endocrine system aids in the regulation and maintenance of various functions of the body by manufacturing and releasing hormones. The primary areas of control and assimilation include responses to injury, stress, absorption of nutrients, reproduction, growth and development, water and electrolyte balance, birth, and reproduction. The endocrine system comprises of various glands in the body. The glands of the endocrine system include the adrenal glands, parathyroid, hypothalamus, pineal body, pituitary gland, and reproductive glands. All these glands have a role to play in aiding the body to remain in balance. 

Normal Physiology vs. Pathophysiology

The Endocrine Glands Physiology

The pituitary organ is a gland in the brain with the shape of a pea. Its responsibility is to produce a majority of essential hormones, which the body manufactures. The hormones secreted by this gland are very important for the regular functioning of the body and incorporates regulating functions like sexual functions, emotions, hunger, thirst, and regulation of body temperature. In individuals with diabetes, their initial symptoms have excessive thirst. Therefore, this shows that the pituitary organ is functioning consistently to put up with the blood glucose demand. 

The pineal gland produces hormone melatonin, which aids in controlling an individual’s sleep. When an individual does not get adequate sleep because they are not producing required amounts of melatonin, they have problems regulating their body weight, an aspect people with diabetes need to watch keenly.

The pancreas is an organ in the endocrine system that is long and slender. The location of the pancreas is below the bottom half of the stomach. Regardless of it primarily being an exocrine gland, producing different types of digestive system hormones, the pancreas has a function in the endocrine system. The pancreas comprises of a collection of cells known as pancreatic islets. These cells have a vital role in the secretion of the hormones insulin, glucagon, pancreatic polypeptide (PP), and somatostatin.

The pancreatic endocrine function incorporates the production of the release of insulin manufactured by beta cells and glucagon created by the alpha cells in the islets. These two hormones control the glucose metabolism rate in the body. The appearance and what the pancreas is made of is similar for both normal individuals and those with diabetes mellitus. However, the cellular and systematic level physiology is of people with diabetes is not similar to that of normal individuals.

Cellular Physiology

Each of the pancreatic islets comprises of a variety of four cells. These cells include the alpha cells, beta cells, deta cells, and the polypeptide cell. However, the pancreas beta cells are associated with the occurrence of diabetes mellitus. These cells play a vital role of insulin production for the body. They manufacture and release insulin hormone when they are prompted to do so by the elevation of levels of blood glucose. Without appropriate amounts of insulin, the levels of blood glucose rise too high, which is a trait of any diabetes. 

For instance, in diabetes type two, the beta cells produce a lot of insulin hormone early in the process of the disease. In type two diabetes, there are both increased levels of glucose and hormone insulin in the circulation. The main issue is that the tissues of the body are resistant to insulin, and they cannot utilize it appropriately. As this type of diabetes progresses with time, nonetheless, the beta cells appear to wear out, and finally manufacture less insulin. On the other hand, the beta cells of people with type one diabetes are not able to generate adequate insulin. The reason to this is due to the destruction of beta cells by the body’s immune system. There is a deficiency of beta cell causing a complete lack of insulin. Consequently, this disorder is referred to as an autoimmune condition. 

Systematic Levels Physiology

Glucose is necessary for the respiration of cells, and it is the preferred stimulant in the cells of the body. The derivation of glucose in the body is because of the breakdown of the foods containing carbohydrate and drinks consumed by the individual. Hormones have a critical role in regulation both the storage and the use of glucose as needed. The pancreas contains receptors, which sense the levels of blood glucose and then the pancreatic cells release insulin or glucagon to retain normal levels. Sensors in the pancreas have the ability to sense the decline in the levels of blood glucose like during the times of fasting or extended labor or exercise.

The insulin hormone has a primary function of facilitating the uptake of sugar into the body cells. Despite the fact that all other cells of the body require insulin whenever they want to take glucose from the circulation, adipose cells and skeletal muscle cells are foremost targets of insulin. Food presence in the intestine prompts the secretion of gastrointestinal tract hormones. Consequently, this leads to the first trigger for the production and secretion of insulin by beta cells. After the absorption of nutrients occurs, the resulting surge in the levels of blood glucose further fuels the secretion of insulin.

Presence of glucagon can raise the levels of blood glucose too high in individuals with diabetes the reason being either due to no presence of adequate insulin or as for diabetes type two, the body is minimally able to react to insulin. However, individuals with diabetes type two fail to release insulin, and thus, cannot make their levels of insulin react to changes in the levels of blood glucose. Even worse, many of them lose the capability of secreting glucagon in response to reduced blood glucose, making them vulnerable to severe hypoglycemia. The lifestyle factors like lack of physical exercise, presence or pre-diabetes, and poor diet are the major causes of diabetes mellitus type two.

Maintenance of Homeostasis

Hormones aid the body in acting or responding to any threat to homeostasis. Hormones offer assistance during reproduction and birth. They help people get to sleep as well as wake up. The adrenal glands emit adrenaline to aid an individual react to potential danger. Moreover, they emit dopamine associated with the reward system of the body. Therefore, the endocrine system has a major role to play in assisting the body to maintain homeostasis because it provides hormones that help the body respond to any threats to homeostasis.


In conclusion, the normal physiology associated with the pathology of the endocrine function and diabetes mellitus majorly depends on the pancreas gland. The reason to this is that the pancreas gland plays a vital role in the metabolism energy by emitting hormone insulin produced by the beta cells of the pancreas. It is when these cells are destroyed by the immune system of the body, which leads to diabetes type one, and when the body fails to release enough amounts of insulin resulting to type two diabetes.

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