A disorder where the body's immune system behaves abnormally and starts attacking its own cells
The organ system in the body which breaks down large insoluble food molecules into small soluble molecules which can be used by the body
Develops when the body does not produce the right amount of insulin or, in some cases, does not produce any at all. It must be treated with daily injections of insulin. People affected also need to manage their diet, eat regularly and plan exercise carefully to balance their energy needs with their food and insulin intake.
The pancreas does produce insulin but cells stop responding properly to the insulin. It is often linked to obesity and lack of exercise and taking more exercise, losing weight and eating a carefully balanced diet can often control or even reverse type 2 diabetes.
A gland which secretes hormones straight into the bloodstream rather into the blood via a tube or duct.
Cells found in the exocrine glands that secrete hormones into ducts, as opposed to straight into the bloodstream.
The body's natural defence mechanism against infectious diseases.
The sugar (glucose) dissolved in the blood; the normal range is 4.0 - 7.8 mmol/l
The most common lipid found in nature and consists of a single glycerol molecule bonded to three fatty acids.
Large molecule consisting of a carboxylic acid (RCOOH) with the 'R' being a long unbranched hydrocarbon chain.
Protein molecules attached to cells that only bind to specific molecules with a particular structure
Within the human body this is the first 25-30cm long section of the small intestine.
A polysaccharide, (C6H10O5)n, that is stored in the liver and in muscles and can be converted back into glucose when needed by the body.
A disorder where an excessive amount of fat has accumulated in the body. It results when the energy taken in as food is stored in the body instead of being used up through activity
Reusable protein molecules which act as biological catalysts, changing the rate of chemical reactions in the body without being affected themselves
A complex carbohydrate made as an energy store plants
The basic unit from which all living organisms are built up, consisting of a cell membrane surrounding cytoplasm and a nucleus.
A large organ in the upper abdomen which manufactures, stores and breaks down substances as required by the body
Material which cannot be digested in the gut, needed to provide bulk which enables food to move through the digestive system.
The liquid which leaves your body through the urethra. It contains water, salts urea and other chemicals.
Type 2 diabetes is a disorder that is increasing in both developed and developing nations as unhealthy diets and lifestyles become more common. It develops when the body can still make some insulin but not enough, or when the insulin that is produced does not work properly (known as insulin resistance). In most cases this is linked with the person being overweight. Type 2 diabetes usually occurs in people over the age of 40. In South Asian and African-Caribbean people it often appears after the age of 25. Recently more children are being diagnosed with the condition. Type 2 diabetes is more common than type 1 diabetes accounting for 85-95% of people with diabetes.
Many factors influence the development of type 2 diabetes; such as an inherited predisposition to diabetes and diets high in saturated fats, sugar and low in fibre. Being overweight also increases the chance of developing type 2 diabetes. Abdominal fat cells release fatty acids into the blood that stimulate the liver to release glucose and triglycerides. This process is therefore increased in overweight people with greater numbers of abdominal fat cells. Over a long period, muscles become insensitive to insulin and beta cells are destroyed.
Diabetes is increasing in developed nations. Obesity is linked with an increased risk of type 2 diabetes
Courtesy of: Anthea Sieveking / Wellcome Images
Obesity causes raised fatty acid levels which can cause diabetes
Type 2 diabetes accounts for around 90% of cases in the UK. It typically develops in the over 40's and can be treated using combinations of lifestyle changes (diet and exercise), oral medicines and daily, long acting, insulin injections.