A long, bumpy, soft, grayish-pink gland, most of which is located just behind the stomach. It is unique in that it produces both digestive juices that empty into the duodenum, and hormones that enter the blood. The digestive juice neutralizes the acidity of digested food coming from the stomach and helps further digest all types of food. The hormones are glucagon and insulin used to control blood sugar levels.
Stops the liver from producing too much glucose. Stops adipose tissue (fat tissue) from releasing glycerol and fatty acids.
Boosts the release of glucose from the liver and from adipose tissue.
Alcohol abuse and gallstones are the two most common causes of an inflammation of the pancreas. So keep alcoholic drinks to a minimum and see user's manual gall bladder.
15.7% of Americans have some form of diabetes. It is the 6th leading cause of death in the U.S. and is the #1 cause of blindness between ages 20 to 70. In those with diabetes, there is a problem with the production or function of the pancreatic hormone known as insulin.
As a result the patient's body is unable to control blood glucose levels. A person suffering from diabetes must therefore control the blood glucose level by closely watching their diet, and taking insulin or other drugs if necessary. Low levels of blood glucose require the body to break down stored fat for fuel. This releases toxins such as ketones, which cause the body to become highly acidic, causing symptoms such as nausea, difficulty breathing, sweet breath, confusion and coma. On the other hand, if the blood glucose level is too high, the blood will thicken, producing symptoms such as confusion, fatigue and coma. If left uncontrolled, either one of these conditions can lead to heart disease, kidney disease, edema (abnormally large amounts of fluid in the intercellular tissue spaces of the body), nerve damage and infections of the mouth, gums, lungs, skin, feet, bladder and genitals. If you experience the above symptoms, tell your physician.
Type 1 insulin-dependent
This less frequent form of diabetes (existing in 5-10% of diabetes patients) usually starts at an early age. It's an auto-immune disease, causing the immune system to attack and destroy the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. This condition can possibly result from an immune response after a viral infection.
Type 2 non-insulin-dependent
In this most common form of diabetes (existing in 90 to 95% of cases) the pancreas produces a supply of insulin too small to support the energy requirements of the body's cells. The body might even become resistant to the small amount of insulin available. Latinos, American Indians, Asian Americans and Black Americans are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes than whites. The number of Black Americans with this disease has tripled over the last 30 years.
This is a form existing in 4% of pregnant women. The hormones existing during pregnancy increase the body's resistance to insulin. This usually ends after delivery but leaves a woman at a higher risk for type 2 diabetes later in life.
Impaired glucose tolerance
A condition in 11% of Americans, in which blood glucose levels are above normal, but not yet at diabetic levels. This condition also puts a person at higher risk for type 2 diabetes later in life.
To reduce your chances of
acquiring diabetes, keep your weight at a normal level.
Obesity puts you at much higher risk for developing diabetes as it can increase your resistance to insulin.
We don't have amazing facts specific to the pancreas. For facts specific to digestion or glands check out our amazing facts page.
Glands involved in digestion