DIABETES INSIPIDUS / DIEBETES MELLITUS [ CLASSIFICATIONS ] – NERVOUS SYSTEM
When the nervous and endocrine systems get out of balance, the resulting dearth or overabundance of hormones can cause havoc. Consider just one hormone. The pituitary gland in the brain stores antidiuretic hormone (ADH), also called vasopressin, which is created by the hypothalamus. ADH helps regulate the body’s water content through its ability to prevent the formation of urine, which contains water expelled by cells.
Neurons in the hypothalamus monitor the water content of the blood and call for the release or withholding of ADH when the blood contains too much or too little water. The dry mouth you experience on the morning of January 1 may be a result of too much partying the night before; excessive alcohol consumption suppresses the release of ADH, causing excessive urination and thus dehydration and cotton mouth.
When the hypothalamus and pituitary fail to regularly create and release enough ADH, often through damage to the hypothalamus or the pituitary, the result is diabetes insipidus. Patients with this disorder urinate frequently and are constantly thirsty. Mild forms of diabetes insipidus can be treated simply: As long as the brain’s ability to recognize thirst is undamaged, patients can compensate for dehydration by drinking plenty of water whenever they feel the need.
Diabetes mellitus creates a lack of the hormone insulin, resulting in heavy losses of blood sugar through urination. Insulin arises in the pancreas, a gland that produces enzymes important for digestion. Insulin’s influence is most apparent just after a meal, as it works to take glucose out of the bloodstream to use it for energy in the body’s cells. Insulin also helps store fat and synthesize proteins.
Diabetes mellitus occurs when the pancreas doesn’t produce enough insulin. Its lack leads to excess blood sugar levels, resulting in dehydration through urination, fatigue, weight loss, nausea, abdominal pain, as well as extreme thirst and hunger. The most common treatment is for the afflicted to test their blood sugar levels and inject themselves with insulin when needed. Accidental overdoses are the most common cause of hypoglycemia, which occurs when too much insulin in the bloodstream lowers blood sugar dangerously. Eating a piece of candy or sipping a glass of orange juice helps restore sugar levels.
Diabetes formerly was classified into “juvenile onset” and “adult onset” varieties because of the typical time frame for diagnoses-ages eight to twelve in children, and forty to sixty in adults. The classification system changed when doctors analyzed symptoms that did not match up well with ages. Patients whose body produced no insulin at all were reclassified as “insulin dependent,” while those whose body made insufficient amounts became “non insulin dependent.” The former now is called Type 1, and the latter Type 2.
Type 1 diabetes IS commonly diagnosed in children, teens, and young adults. Symptoms usually come in a rush, shortly after the patient s Immune system turns on itself and destroys the insulin-producing cells of the pancreas. Lack of insulin used to be a death sentence. Now patients survive with regular injections of insulin, either by syringe or an automatic pump and catheter.
Diabetes mellitus gets its modern name from the Greek for “overflow” (diabetes) and the Latin for “honey” ( mellitus). Overflow is a reference to the symptom of frequent urination, and honey refers to the glucose that appears in the urine. Ancient physicians would diagnose the condition by tasting urine for sweetness.
Type 2 is the more common variety and can begin at any age. It usually starts because the body’s liver, fat, and muscle cells fail to use insulin efficiently. That causes glucose levels to rise in the blood- stream. Feedback mechanisms in the peripheral nervous system detect the increase and trigger production and release of more insulin in the pancreas to offset the higher glucose levels and maintain homeostasis. However, the pancreas cannot keep up the extra production forever. Diet, exercise, weight loss, and medication are common methods of keeping Type 2 diabetes in check.
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