How Does Diabetes Affect The Digestive System?
Diabetes damages the digestive system and can lead to a condition called Gastroparesis. Gastroparesis means the paralysis of your stomach. Before you can understand how this condition develops, you first need to understand how the digestive system works. The digestive system comprises of a food tube (esophagus), a stomach and intestines which resemble pipe-lines. The food we eat enters into our stomachs through the esophagus. Inside the stomach, the food gets partly digested. A valve-like structure at the end of the stomach called the pyloric sphincter allows the food in the stomach to then enter into the intestines. Like all other parts of your body, your stomach receives signals from nerves. The nerve supplying the stomach is called the vagus nerve. The vagus nerve controls the movements of the stomach and allows the pyloric sphincter to relax. When one has diabetes, it means they have uncontrolled levels of blood sugar. High blood sugar damages almost all the nerves in the body, including the vagus nerve too. As a result, one can develop gastroparesis in which the stomach does not contract and pyloric sphincter does not relax to allow the food to enter into the intestines. This way, the food remains in the stomach for too long. If you have gastroparesis, you may develop some or most of the following symptoms: Nausea Vomiting Bloating Pain in the stomach Feeling of fullness Heartburn You can use the following precautions to control these symptoms: Consult your doctor if you’re a person with diabetes and you’ve started to experience any of the above symptoms. Eat smaller meals instead of bigger meals. Try to eat 5-6 smaller meals a day instead of eating 2-3 bigger ones. The fiber in your diet may complicate the symptoms. So you should avoid eating raw vegetables. I Continue reading >>
How Diabetes Affects The Digestive System
While we may hesitate to associate our mouths with certain other parts of the gastrointestinal tract, make no mistake: Your mouth is where food processing begins. As the jaws move up and down, teeth chop and mince your meals into smaller pieces, while your tongue shapes bits of food into little balls that will fit down your windpipe. Digestion actually begins the instant you chomp on a hot dog or bagel, as enzymes in saliva are already at work, turning big, bulky molecules into smaller ones. In particular, the enzyme amylase starts to break down starchy carbohydrates. As little chunks of food move to the back of the mouth, they enter a chamber called the pharynx, continuing south into the esophagus. Once they enter this narrow tube, food and drink move through the digestive tract thanks to the contractions of tiny smooth muscles, the process known as peristalsis. After a quick trip through the esophagus, your most recent meal drops into the stomach. Digestion continues in this big pouch, which -- when you're really pigging out -- can hold up to three pints of food and drink. The stomach produces acids that start breaking down proteins. What's more, muscles in the stomach contract and relax, churning food and converting it into a semi-liquidlike substance. (Extra credit: This goo is known as chyme, which is pronounced "kime" and rhymes with "slime.") After about four hours, your lunch empties from the stomach into the intestines. Now the serious digestion begins. In the uppermost section of the small intestine, known as the duodenum, fat is dissolved by bile, which is made by the liver. Meanwhile, digestive juices (produced in the lining of the intestines and by our old friend the pancreas) break down carbohydrates, fats, and protein. After these nutrients are converted Continue reading >>
Amylase: The Anti-diabetes Digestive Enzyme That Boosts Energy
It’s a lesser known fact that a growing number of health problems can be linked to nutrient malabsorption due to a lack of digestive enzymes. (1) Amylase, protease and lipase are the three main and most vital enzymes your body utilizes to digest food. Amylase has the responsibility of helping your body process carbohydrates into simple sugars while protease breaks down protein and lipase is in charge of fat break down. Why should you care about amylase? The role of digestive enzymes is to act as catalysts in speeding up specific, life-preserving chemical reactions in the body. Essentially, digestive enzymes assist in breaking down larger molecules into more easily absorbed particles that the body can use to survive and thrive. Without proper levels of amylase and other digestive enzymes, it really is impossible to have your health be at its best. 5 Amylase Health Benefits What are some of the ways that amylase can benefit your health? Well, aside from the most key and central function to properly digest carbohydrates, it also holds a lot of other valuable health benefits that will probably surprise you. 1. Improved Digestion Your mouth is the place where both the mechanical and chemical breakdown of your food occurs through the combined use of your teeth, jaws and saliva. Amylases are vital to your digestive process because they’re needed to process any starches in your diet, which are a main source from which people derive glucose, the primary sugar molecule the body uses for energy. It’s key that you combine your body’s natural amylase-producing ability with your natural ability to chew. Why is this important? Because if food is not properly broken down in the mouth, then your body has more work to do in order to digest and extract nutrients and energy from wh Continue reading >>
Video: How Diabetes Affects Your Blood Sugar
Your body uses glucose for energy. Glucose metabolism requires insulin, a hormone produced by your pancreas. Here's how normal glucose metabolism works, and what happens when you have diabetes — a disease where your body either can't produce enough insulin or it can't use insulin properly. The food you eat consists of three basic nutrients: carbohydrates, protein and fat. During digestion, chemicals in your stomach break down carbohydrates into glucose, which is absorbed into your bloodstream. Your pancreas responds to the glucose by releasing insulin. Insulin is responsible for allowing glucose into your body's cells. When the glucose enters your cells, the amount of glucose in your bloodstream falls. If you have type 1 diabetes, your pancreas doesn't secrete insulin — which causes a buildup of glucose in your bloodstream. Without insulin, the glucose can't get into your cells. If you have type 2 diabetes, your pancreas secretes less insulin than your body requires because your body is resistant to its effect. With both types of diabetes, glucose cannot be used for energy, and it builds up in your bloodstream — causing potentially serious health complications. Continue reading >>
How Much Do You Know About Metformin?
Metformin is a drug commonly used in the treatment of Type 2 diabetes. It is sold as a generic and under several brand names, including Glucophage, Glumetza, Riomet, and Fortamet. Both the American Diabetes Association (ADA) and the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE) recommend metformin as a cornerstone of therapy for Type 2 diabetes when exercise and dietary changes aren’t enough to keep blood glucose levels in target range. The low cost of the generic forms along with a long history of use make it a good choice for many individuals with Type 2 diabetes. Although metformin has helped many people lower their blood glucose levels, it does have some potential side effects that are worth knowing about. Understanding the risks and benefits of metformin is key to using it successfully. Take this quiz to test your knowledge of this popular diabetes medicine. (You can find the answers later in the article.) Q 1. How does metformin work to lower blood glucose levels? A. It stimulates the pancreas to make more insulin. B. It decreases the amount of glucose produced by the liver and makes it easier for cells to accept glucose from the bloodstream. C. It slows the digestive system’s breakdown of carbohydrates into glucose, allowing more time for insulin to work. D. It suppresses appetite, slows stomach emptying, and inhibits the release of glucagon (a hormone that raises blood glucose levels). 2. In addition to lowering blood glucose, metformin sometimes causes moderate weight loss. TRUE FALSE 3. In research studies, metformin use was associated with which of the following benefits in people with Type 2 diabetes? A. Reduced risk of morning high blood glucose. B. Reduced neuropathy (nerve damage). C. Reduced retinopathy (damage to the retina, a membrane in Continue reading >>
Diabetes Type 1
On this page: Every day, two more Australian children and as many as six Australians of all ages develop type 1 diabetes, which makes it one of the most common serious diseases among children. Diabetes is a condition of the endocrine system (the system of glands that delivers hormones). To use glucose (blood sugar) for energy, the hormone insulin needs to be secreted by the pancreas, a gland located in the abdomen. A person with type 1 diabetes is unable to produce insulin. Treatment involves closely monitoring blood sugar levels, modifying diet and taking daily injections of insulin. Type 1 diabetes can affect anyone, but is more common in people under 30 years and tends to begin in childhood. Other names for type 1 diabetes have included juvenile diabetes and insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM). Approximately one in every ten Australians with diabetes has type 1 diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is much more common in Australia than in other countries. The pancreas and type 1 diabetes The digestive system breaks down carbohydrates into glucose. This simple sugar is then transported to each cell via the bloodstream. The pancreas secretes the hormone insulin, which allows the glucose to migrate from the blood into the cells. Once inside a cell, the glucose is ‘burned’, along with oxygen, to produce energy. The pancreas of a person with type 1 diabetes doesn’t make enough insulin to keep blood glucose normal. Without insulin, the glucose remains in the bloodstream at high levels. The body recognises the problem and tries to provide the cells with other sources of fuel, such as stored fats. Extensive fat burning can release by-products called ketones, which are dangerous in high amounts. Symptoms of type 1 diabetes The symptoms of type 1 diabetes include: excessive t Continue reading >>
Nerve Damage (diabetic Neuropathies)
What are diabetic neuropathies? Diabetic neuropathies are a family of nerve disorders caused by diabetes. People with diabetes can, over time, develop nerve damage throughout the body. Some people with nerve damage have no symptoms. Others may have symptoms such as pain, tingling, or numbness—loss of feeling—in the hands, arms, feet, and legs. Nerve problems can occur in every organ system, including the digestive tract, heart, and sex organs. About 60 to 70 percent of people with diabetes have some form of neuropathy. People with diabetes can develop nerve problems at any time, but risk rises with age and longer duration of diabetes. The highest rates of neuropathy are among people who have had diabetes for at least 25 years. Diabetic neuropathies also appear to be more common in people who have problems controlling their blood glucose, also called blood sugar, as well as those with high levels of blood fat and blood pressure and those who are overweight. What causes diabetic neuropathies? The causes are probably different for different types of diabetic neuropathy. Researchers are studying how prolonged exposure to high blood glucose causes nerve damage. Nerve damage is likely due to a combination of factors: metabolic factors, such as high blood glucose, long duration of diabetes, abnormal blood fat levels, and possibly low levels of insulin neurovascular factors, leading to damage to the blood vessels that carry oxygen and nutrients to nerves autoimmune factors that cause inflammation in nerves mechanical injury to nerves, such as carpal tunnel syndrome inherited traits that increase susceptibility to nerve disease lifestyle factors, such as smoking or alcohol use What are the symptoms of diabetic neuropathies? Symptoms depend on the type of neuropathy and which Continue reading >>
The Truth About Diabetes: The Relationship Between Gut Health And Disease
Over the past several years, research into diabetes has found a link between diabetes, intestinal permeability, and gut bacteria. (1) It turns out that the microflora in your digestive tract may play a role in the development of diabetes. Healthy gut bacteria can nurture the lining of your digestive tract, while harmful bacteria can cause inflammation to spread throughout your whole body - leaving you at risk for serious conditions like diabetes. In a 2012 study, a team of researchers induced poor gut function in mice by giving them a drug we use in Western medicine called Tamoxifen. The Tamoxifen was able to completely disrupt the inner ecology of the mice. (2) Scientists discovered a strong similarity between the intestinal linings of the mice fed Tamoxifen and those with diabetes. Both groups showed improvement when given insulin. According to the group of scientists, this means that there is a noteworthy relationship between gut bacteria, gut mucosa, and diabetes. Other previous studies have found that certain external stressors have a similar effect. (3)(4) External stressors that influence microbial residents and have been linked to diabetes are things like: Antibiotic use Environmental toxins Common prescription medications While scientists are still piecing together the puzzle, so far what they do know is that external stressors can do enough damage to the lining of the gut to change its microbial residents. These changes not only effect digestion, but they can also have a systemic, or whole-body, effect. Our Inner Ecology: Just How Important Is It? Interest in the bacteria that we harbor in and on our bodies has been growing, especially since 2008 when the Human Microbiome Project (HMP) was launched. This initiative supports a full-scale investigation into cate Continue reading >>
What To Eat, Diabetics
Food Suggestions and Tips for People who have Idiopathic Gastroparesis or Delayed Emptying of the Stomach Information: adapted and reviewed by: Carol Rees Parrish, RD, MS Nutrition Support Specialist University of Virginia Health System Digestive Health Center of Excellence Gastroparesis and Dysmotilities Association (GPDA) www.digestivedistress.com __________________________________________________________ Introduction: What to eat when your stomach is not working right can be challenging for anyone, but is particularly so for individuals with Type I 1 diabetes mellitus, who are also faced with a slow-emptying stomach (gastroparesis). Wide swings in blood glucose levels can be an early sign of gastroparesis in someone with diabetes mellitus. Others may experience digestive symptoms that punctuate life's routines, rob one's appetite, or develop into patterns of nausea and vomiting. Dietary manipulation can greatly assist you in regaining blood glucose control. Proper use of your insulin or diabetic medication is also of utmost importance. Your diabetologist, or primary care physician, dietitian, diabetes nurse specialist, and diabetes educator are your best resources. For those who are experiencing moderate to more severe digestive symptoms, eating may become inconsistent from meal to meal, day to day, or week to week, depending upon the frequency and intensity of digestive distress. Getting a handle on good blood glucose control - while still attempting to eat enough calories in order to maintain your weight - may seem daunting. Our aim is to provide you with knowledge and suggestions to aid your efforts as you work towards optimal management with your medical team. In general: Little research is available in the area of diet and gastroparesis. What works for one perso Continue reading >>
Slow Digestion Can Explain Odd Readings
I received emails this week from three different correspondents that asked about strange blood sugar readings several hours after eating. In my replies I mentioned slowed digestion as a possible cause. As I did so I realized this is a blood-sugar related problem that isn't often discussed in mainstream media, so it isn't familiar to all of us. I first learned about it in reading Dr. Bernstein's landmark book,Dr. Bernstein's Diabetes Solution. Bernstein explains that delayed digestions, which he calls by its medical name, gastroparesis, results when neuropathy affects the nerves of the autonomic nervous system that control the opening and closing of the valve at the bottom of the stomach. If the valve stays shut after eating, your food does not get to the upper part of the gut where much of it digests. As a result, starch and complex sugars don't turn into glucose and your blood sugar stays low after eating. Eventually, of course, the valve does open, and when it does your food digests and your blood sugar rises. If you aren't using insulin, this merely will give you odd readings. You'll see good readings an hour or two after eating, only to discover your blood sugar soaring the third hour. However, if you use fast-acting insulin at meals this effect can be dangerous, because your insulin will peak at about an hour after you eat whether or not your blood sugar is high. If you inject enough insulin at the time you eat to cover a significant amount of carbohydrate, you may end up with a hypo if that carbohydrate doesn't digest into glucose in time to meet the insulin. And even if you don't hypo, if digestion is delayed, by the time your food does digest you may not have any insulin left to cover it, so you will end up with a very high blood sugar. Delayed stomach emptying Continue reading >>
Which Systems Of The Body Are Affected By Diabetes?
Diabetes mellitus is a metabolic disorder in which inadequate production of the hormone insulin or a resistance to its actions in the body can lead to high blood sugar levels. Insulin is needed to get sugar into cells of the body, where it is used for energy. When sugar cannot get into cells, it remains in the blood at high levels. Complications of diabetes arise from long-term exposure to high blood sugar. The cardiovascular, nervous, visual and urinary systems are most commonly affected by chronically high blood sugars. Video of the Day The cardiovascular system includes the heart and blood vessels. High blood sugar and increased blood fat levels commonly found in people with diabetes contribute to fatty deposits called plaques on the inner walls of blood vessels, causing inflammation. This leads to decreased blood flow and hardening of the blood vessels called atherosclerosis. High blood sugar also results in glycation, where sugars attach to proteins, making them sticky. This occurs on proteins found in blood vessels, also resulting in inflammation. When this occurs in the heart, it can lead to cardiovascular disease. According to a 2016 report from the American Heart Association, 68 percent of people with diabetes older than 65 die of heart disease. Nerve damage called diabetic neuropathy is common in people with diabetes. Symptoms typically appear after several years but may be present when diabetes is diagnosed, as the disease may have gone undetected for many years. Diabetic nerve damage known as peripheral neuropathy is most common in the legs and feet. According to a 2005 statement by the American Diabetes Association, up to 50 percent of people with diabetes have peripheral neuropathy. This typically starts as numbness or tingling that progresses to loss of p Continue reading >>
Type 1 Diabetes Guide
Over time, diabetes can affect many parts of your body. One of those is the vagus nerve, which controls how quickly your stomach empties. When it's damaged, your digestion slows down and food stays in your body longer than it should. This is a condition called gastroparesis. It can make you feel queasy and vomit. It's also bad for your blood sugar levels. Although it's more common in people with type 1 diabetes, people with type 2 can also get it. Most people with gastroparesis have had diabetes for at least 10 years and also have other complications related to the disease. You may have: Heartburn or reflux (backup of stomach contents into the esophagus) Vomiting (in severe cases, this may happen daily) Feeling full quickly when eating Food that stays in your stomach too long can spoil and lead to the growth of bacteria. Undigested food can harden and form a lump called a bezoar. It can block your stomach and keep what you eat from moving into the small intestine. Gastroparesis can make it hard to control diabetes. When food finally does leave your stomach and enters the small intestine, your blood sugar goes up, too. Throwing up can also leave you dehydrated. Your doctor will ask about your symptoms. He’ll also do a physical exam, and he may check your blood sugar. He might also suggest other tests. Barium X-ray: You drink a liquid (barium), which coats your esophagus, stomach, and small intestine and shows up on X-rays. This test is also known as an upper GI (gastrointestinal) series or a barium swallow. Barium beefsteak meal: You eat a meal with barium in it, and the doctor uses an X-ray to watch how long it takes you to digest the food. That tells your doctor how quickly your stomach empties. Radioisotope gastric-emptying scan: You eat food that has a radioactive Continue reading >>
What is gastroparesis? Gastroparesis, also called delayed gastric emptying, is a disorder that slows or stops the movement of food from the stomach to the small intestine. Normally, the muscles of the stomach, which are controlled by the vagus nerve, contract to break up food and move it through the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. The GI tract is a series of hollow organs joined in a long, twisting tube from the mouth to the anus. The movement of muscles in the GI tract, along with the release of hormones and enzymes, allows for the digestion of food. Gastroparesis can occur when the vagus nerve is damaged by illness or injury and the stomach muscles stop working normally. Food then moves slowly from the stomach to the small intestine or stops moving altogether. What causes gastroparesis? Most people diagnosed with gastroparesis have idiopathic gastroparesis, which means a health care provider cannot identify the cause, even with medical tests. Diabetes is the most common known cause of gastroparesis. People with diabetes have high levels of blood glucose, also called blood sugar. Over time, high blood glucose levels can damage the vagus nerve. Other identifiable causes of gastroparesis include intestinal surgery and nervous system diseases such as Parkinson’s disease or multiple sclerosis. For reasons that are still unclear, gastroparesis is more commonly found in women than in men. What are the symptoms of gastroparesis? The most common symptoms of gastroparesis are nausea, a feeling of fullness after eating only a small amount of food, and vomiting undigested food—sometimes several hours after a meal. Other symptoms of gastroparesis include gastroesophageal reflux (GER), also called acid reflux or acid regurgitation—a condition in which stomach contents flow back Continue reading >>
Overview: Types of Diabetes Mellitus Diabetes mellitus (DM) is a common disease in which the blood sugar (glucose) is abnormally elevated. Normally, the body obtains glucose from food, and additional glucose is made in the liver. The pancreas produces insulin, which enables glucose to enter cells and serve as fuel for the body. In patients with diabetes, glucose accumulates in the blood instead of being properly transported into cells. Excess blood sugar is a serious problem that may damage the blood vessels, heart, kidneys, and other organs. About 5-10% of patients with diabetes are diagnosed with type 1 diabetes mellitus, an autoimmune disorder in which the immune system mistakenly attacks the insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas, causing the organ to no longer produce insulin. Type 1 DM most commonly occurs in children or young adults, and the incidence of new cases is increasing. Approximately 90-95% of people with diabetes have type 2 diabetes mellitus, which occurs when the body becomes unable to use the insulin produced by the pancreas. This condition is also called insulin resistance. The prevalence of type 2 DM is increasing dramatically worldwide. In the past, type 2 DM was associated with adulthood; however, it is rapidly increasing in children because of the rise in childhood obesity. Gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) occurs during pregnancy. This form of diabetes usually resolves after delivery, but patients with GDM have an increased risk of developing type 2 DM later in life. Causes and Risk Factors Type 1 DM is an autoimmune disorder and the exact cause is unknown. Causes may include genetic factors, environmental factors, and viruses. For type 2 DM, the major risk factors include a family history of type 2 DM, increased age, obesity, and a sed Continue reading >>
How Does Diabetes Affect Endocrine, Excretory, And Digestive Systems?
Likewise on the digestive system, diabetes also has some consequences on the endocrine system. But before we delve into its effects, let us have a quick glance into the understanding of what endocrine system is and what role does it play. Endocrine system is basically a complex network of glands that produce some chemicals known as hormones. These hormones are responsible for controlling various functions of the body by sending signals to the brain. The body falls under an endocrine disease either when the glands stop producing respective hormones or when the brain doesn’t respond to the hormonal signals. Some of the major glands that form up the endocrine system are: Adrenal glands Pancreas Pituitary gland Reproductive glands Hypothalamus Thyroid Pineal body Parathyroid Relation between Diabetes and Endocrine System Diabetes is a form of endocrine disease caused by high blood sugar levels in the body. It is perhaps the most common disease affecting the endocrine system. Diabetes arises when the group of hormones governing the glucose levels in the blood stops functioning, resulting in shooting up of the blood glucose. In addition to insulin and glucagon, various other hormones of endocrine system are responsible for influencing blood glucose levels. For instance, cortisol raises the levels of blood glucose to boost up the energy. Likewise, incretins hormones begin the insulin secretion from the pancreas, so that the glucose levels don’t increase much, after having meals. How diabetes affects the stomach? According to doctors, the other term for gastroparesis is ‘diabetic stomach’. Autonomic neuropathy that is the damaging of the vagus nerve, makes the movement of the food slow, thus retaining it for an extended period. This accumulation of solid mass in the sto Continue reading >>