Homeostasis and Diabetes: How Do You Restore A State of Balance

The American Heritage Dictionary defines homeostasis as a state of equilibrium, as in an organism or cell, maintained by self-regulating processes: The kidneys maintain homeostasis in the body by regulating the amount of salt and water excreted. Based on this definition, diabetes results from a disruption or failure of homeostasis.

The Natural Balance of Glucose and Insulin

In someone without diabetes, the pancreas and the liver coordinate the production of insulin and the production of glucose autonomously. When the body needs energy, the liver breaks down stored glucagon into glucose. The pancreas responds to this automatically, producing exactly enough insulin to allow the intake of glucose by cells in the body. Once the glucose is absorbed into the cells, there is no longer a need for insulin, and the pancreas stops producing.

This balance of production is homeostasis, where the coordination of needs and responses is perfect.

Approximating Homeostasis

When the diabetic patient uses insulin, it is an attempt to restore homeostasis. Measuring blood glucose levels multiple times during the day and dosing oneself accordingly is meant to mimic that perfect control our bodies once exhibited. Unfortunately, the best we can do is approximate.

For the patient who wears an insulin pump, coordination is closer, but still not perfect. At this point in time, insulin pumps are still only an attempt to mimic the perfect balance of sugar and insulin. These pumps release a continuous flow (baseline, or basal) of insulin, at low levels, with additional dosages (boluses) at mealtimes.

While this is closer to what happens in someone without diabetes, the fact that both the basal and bolus amounts of insulin received are approximations of what the body needs means that homeostasis is also only approximated.

Artificial Pancreas

There is a lot of research into the creation of an artificial pancreas. Ideally, this would be able to sense the amount of glucose in the blood and respond immediately with the exact amount of insulin necessary for the glucose to be fully absorbed.

Unfortunately, such an invention is a long way off.

In the meantime, with frequent testing we can learn the pattern of glucose levels for our own bodies, and respond with the appropriate amounts of insulin at the appropriate times. This will be the closest we can get for the foreseeable future.

Source: Medscape.com
Photo: Pixabay

Get a Free Diabetes Meal Plan

Get a free 7-Day Diabetes Meal Plan from Constance Brown-Riggs who is a Registered Dietitian-Certified Diabetes Educator and who is also a national spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association.

Just enter in your email below to download your free Diabetes Meal Plan.

By clicking Submit, you agree to send your info to BattleDiabetes.com who may contact you with updates and information and we agree to use it according to our privacy policy.

More Articles

More Articles

Diabetics should avoid white bread and anything else made with white flour because it can raise their...

Diabetic shock occurs when blood sugar levels plummet, causing a disruption in the proper functioning of the body and brain. A significant drop in...

Diabetics are prone to boils because they have weakened immune systems. Boils are abscesses of infected skin that form near hair follicles. They...

One of the most important habits for diabetics to develop is a healthy exercise routine. If you’re...

Managing diabetes means not only monitoring your blood sugar but also following a healthful diet. Knowing...

Once widely known by the name "juvenile diabetes," type 1 diabetes is becoming more common. The disease occurs when the body starts attacking...

There are two types of diabetes, and both children and adults can develop either type....

The Mayo Clinic Diabetic Diet consists of ...

It is important for people with type 2 diabetes to follow a carefully recommended diet plan. The U.S....

According to the Mayo Clinic, excessive alcohol consumption can increase a person's risk of developing type 2...

With diabetes, your blood sugar levels...

It's important to follow a healthy diet if you have diabetes. Maintaining a frequent and nutritious eating schedule helps stabilize blood sugar...

Diabetic test strips are one of the biggest expenses in diabetes care. People who are on a fixed income need to watch every penny that they spend...

Many diabetics are told by their doctors to completely eliminate bread from their diet. While store-bought white bread is one of the worst foods a...

During a time when sugary treats are found at every turn, steering clear of carbohydrate-rich cocktails becomes even more important for people...