Diabetes mellitus is a metabolic disease that affects around 9% of the global population. It appears to affect some populations more than others. This is thought to be due to both genetic and environmental factors.
Glucose homeostasis is a feedback loop that operates to maintain a blood glucose concentration within a normal range. This is achieved through two hormones: insulin and glucagon. When glucose concentrations are high (for example, after eating), insulin is released from the pancreas. Insulin acts on muscle, fat and the liver, triggering glucose absorption and thus reducing the blood glucose concentration (see Figure 1). When glucose concentrations are low, glucagon is released from the pancreas but acts solely on the liver. Glucagon promotes the breakdown of glycogen into glucose, therefore increasing blood glucose concentrations.
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