What is the Most Common Diabetes Pathophysiology?

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  • Written By: Summer Banks
  • Edited By: Michelle Arevalo
  • Last Modified Date: 14 October 2018
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In order to understand the most common diabetes pathophysiology, an understanding of carbohydrate metabolism can be helpful. When carbohydrates are consumed, there are four steps the body generally takes in order to use them as energy. In a patient with diabetes, these steps are often flawed, preventing the process from completing properly.

The first step the body takes after carbohydrates are consumed is to break them down into glucose. During the most common diabetes pathophysiology, this breakdown of carbohydrates occurs in much the same manner as it does in the normal body. Once the carbohydrates are broken down, the glucose enters the bloodstream.

Once it is present in the bloodstream, blood glucose levels tend to rise. This rise in blood glucose levels is often what triggers the pancreas to release insulin. In the most common diabetes pathophysiology, this release of insulin is typically where the first troubles begin for the body.

When insulin is secreted by the pancreas, it needs to bind to glucose in order for the cells to use it for energy. Insulin helps glucose pass through cell walls and into the cell. The cell can then use the glucose for energy. If the person has hypoglycemia, hyperglycemia, or insulin resistance, this final step may be flawed.


In the case of hypoglycemia, the most common diabetes pathophysiology is the release of too much insulin. When the body has more insulin than glucose, all of the energy may be moved into some cells too quickly. This can leave blood glucose levels too low, and the remaining cells without the energy they need to survive.

Hyperglycemia tends to affect the body in the opposite way. The pancreas may not release enough insulin, causing blood glucose levels to rise. The cells still may not get the energy they need, because the insulin is not there to move the glucose through the cell walls. Insulin resistance may also be a cause of hyperglycemia.

Insulin resistance is often characterized by a normal release of insulin into the bloodstream. The cells of the body, however, tend to react differently than they should. The most common diabetes pathophysiology for insulin resistance is an increased blood glucose level.

Having too much glucose in the blood may lead to health problems if left uncorrected. Some of the common health problems associated with increased glucose levels in the blood include infections, slower healing, and loss of vision. Blood glucose levels that are too low may cause blurred vision, sudden hunger, and mental confusion.



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