How Blood Sugar Levels Are Regulated in the Body

Topics: Metabolism, Blood sugar, Diabetes mellitus Pages: 1 (372 words) Published: November 30, 2011
Biology Homework
Explain how blood sugar levels are regulated in your body.
Blood sugar level (also known as blood glucose level) is the amount of glucose (sugar) in the blood. The amount of glucose in the blood is expressed as millimoles per litre (mmol/l). Blood sugar levels are tightly regulated in the human body. Glucose, transported via the bloodstream, is the primary source of energy for the body's cells. The levels of glucose in the blood are monitored by the cells in the pancreas. If the blood glucose level falls to dangerous levels (as in very heavy exercise or lack of food for extended periods), the pancreas releases glucagon, a hormone whose effects on liver cells act to increase blood glucose levels. They convert glycogen storage into glucose. The glucose is released into the bloodstream, increasing blood sugar levels. When levels of blood sugar rise, whether as a result of glycogen conversion, or from digestion of a meal, a different hormone - insulin - is released, causing the liver to convert more glucose into glycogen, and to force muscle and fat tissue cells to take up glucose from the blood, thus decreasing blood sugar levels. Insulin also provides signals to several other body systems, and is the chief regulatory metabolic control in humans. When very high levels of blood glucose are present for years, it leads to damage of the small blood vessels, which increases a diabetic's risk of developing late-stage diabetes complications like eye disease, kidney disease, nerve disease and cardiovascular diseases, such as heart attack, hypertension, heart failure, stroke and problems caused by poor circulation. Keeping the blood sugar levels stable significantly reduces the risk of these complications. Identify the main parts of the homeostatic system.

Homeostasis is the property of a system that regulates its internal environment and tends to maintain a stable, constant condition of properties like temperature or pH. It can be either an open or...
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