Diabetes Essay


‘Carol is 17 years old and was diagnosed with type I diabetes at the age of 7 years. Carol has had recent hospital admission for dehydration and high blood glucose. During the admission Carol was found to be 6 weeks pregnant. Prior to admission she had been experiencing weight loss and changes in mood’

With reference to the above case study, part I of this essay will explain the pathophysiology of type I diabetes. There will be a focus on the role of the immune system in the destruction of beta cells in the pancreas and how this destruction of beta cells affects glucose regulation in the blood.
The essay will also explain the pathophysiology of a number of signs and symptoms that Carol has been experiencing and will consider the potential effects on the developing embryo and foetus during the first trimester of Carol’s pregnancy.

Part II of this essay will explain the argument that there is a relationship between genetic susceptibility, obesity and the development of Type II diabetes, covering the epidemiology, genetic predisposition and aetiology of this form of the disease.

Part I

Diabetes mellitus is a complex metabolic disorder characterised by persistent hyperglycemia. There are two main types of diabetes. Type 1 is diabetes is caused by the autoimmune destruction of the insulin producing Beta cells of the pancreatic islets. Type 2 results from both impaired insulin secretion and resistance to the action of insulin. (Holt, Hanley and Brook, 2007)


The pancreas is a mixed gland composed of both endocrine and exocrine gland cells. It develops as an outpocketing of the epithelial lining of the gastrointestinal tract. Acinar cells, forming the bulk of the gland, produce an enzyme rich juice that is carried by ducts to the small intestine during digestion.
Scattered amongst the acinar cells are approximately a million pancreatic islets. These are tiny cell clusters that produce pancreatic hormones....