Follow US:

Practice English Speaking&Listening with: Diabetes and the body | Diabetes UK

Difficulty: 0

In this film we're going to explain how your body processes the food you eat

in order to provide all your body cells with the energy they need,

and also what happens when you have diabetes

and this system doesn't work properly. When you eat food that contains


it's broken down in the stomach and digestive system into glucose, which is

a type of sugar.

sugar. We need glucose from food because that's what gives us energy.

Carbohydrate containing foods are things like starchy foods,

sugary foods, milk, and some dairy products

and fruit. This glucose then moves into the bloodstream and the body detects

that the blood glucose level is rising. In response to that

the pancreas, which is a little gland that sits just underneath the stomach,

starts to release a hormone called insulin

and it's insulin that helps our body get the energy from the food we eat.

The blood stream then takes the glucose and the insulin

to every cell in our body that needs it.

To make this easier to understand let's look at muscle cells.

At the muscle cells it's insulin

that allows the glucose to get into the cells where it can be used for energy.

It's a bit like insulin is a key unlocking the door to the cells

so the glucose can get in.

That way, the blood glucose levels starts to drop but

the blood glucose level can be topped up at any point by the liver

releasing extra glucose that it has stored. The blood glucose rises again,

and again, the pancreas produces more insulin to move with that glucose

through the bloodstream to the muscle cells, open the doors

and let the glucose in.

The body functions best with the blood glucose at an optimum level.

It doesn't like it if the blood glucose rises too high.

Normally there's a cycle within the body which balances out

the glucose and the insulin level and this is achieved

the food you eat, the pancreas and the liver.

However in some people the system doesn't work properly

and they develop diabetes. There are two main types of diabetes -

Type 1 and Type 2. In Type 1 diabetes

the body isn't making any insulin at all. This is because of an

autoimmune response whereby

the body has destroyed the insulin producing cells in the pancreas.

We don't entirely know why that happens in some people

and not in others. Type 1 diabetes accounts for about 10 per cent of all cases.

It's most often found in the in the under 40s

and it's by far the most common type of diabetes found in childhood.

In Type 1 diabetes the

carbohydrate-containing food is turned into glucose as normal. That glucose

then moves into the bloodstream. Normally

the body would produce insulin to let that glucose into the cells but because

into the cells but in Type 1 diabetes

there is no insulin being produced so the glucose

can't get into the body cells at all, so the level of glucose in the blood

rises and rises. The body tries to lower the level of glucose,

it tries to get rid of the glucose through the kidneys.

That's why people who have undiagnosed Type 1 diabetes

tend to go to the toilet a lot to pass urine.

As the kidneys filter the glucose out of the blood,

they also take a lot of water with it so

the person with diabetes will get very thirsty.

The urine contains a lot of glucose

and that creates an environment where it's quite easy for bacteria to thrive

so it's also quite common to get thrush or genital itching.

In the same way the blood contains a high level of glucose as well

so more bacteria than usual will tend to breed in flesh wounds

and they might be slow to heal. Glucose can also build up

in the lens at the front of the eye causing the liquid in the lens to become cloudy.

That can mean that some people with undiagnosed Type 1 diabetes

can have blurred vision. Because the glucose can't get into the cells

to be used for energy, somebody who's got undiagnosed Type 1 diabetes

is going to start feeling very tired, lethargic

and unable to go about their normal daily routine. But the body still needs

an energy source

in order to work properly so what it does is it starts to break down its

fats tools

and that can lead to weight loss.

So, the main symptoms of Type 1 diabetes

are going to the toilet a lot, thirst, thrush or genital itching,

slow healing of wounds, blurred vision

tiredness and weight loss. These symptoms

generally happen quite quickly often over a few weeks

and come be reversed once the diabetes is treated with insulin.

Type 2 diabetes accounts for about 90 per cent of all cases in the


It's most common in the over 40 age group in the white population

and in the over 25 age group in the South Asian population.

Type 2 diabetes is a little more complex because there are slightly more processes at


Either the body isn't producing quite enough insulin

or the insulin it is producing isn't working properly.

That can be due to being overweight

because a build up of fat can stop insulin doing its job properly

but it can also happen in people of a healthy weight.

So in Type 2 diabetes, the

carbohydrate-containing food is broken down into glucose

in the stomach and digestive system as normal. That glucose

then moves into the bloodstream. The pancreas

starts to produce insulin which moves with the glucose

through the bloodstream to all the body cells which need

glucose for energy. However the

glucose can't always get into the cells because the locks to the cell doors

have become furred up with fat deposits. That means that the

insulin can't open the cell doors properly.

So the level of glucose in the blood continues to rise.

In response to this, the pancreas produces

even more insulin so the blood glucose levels continue to rise

and the insulin levels continue to rise. This situation is further complicated by

the cells

which are desperate for energy - sending out emergency signals to the liver

to release stored glucose. The blood glucose level

up and up and the pancreas produces more and more insulin

until it can't cope anymore and eventually it can wear out.

As with Type 1 diabetes the symptoms of Type 2 diabetes

are going to the toilet a lot, thirst,

thrush or genital itching, slow healing of wounds,

blurred vision, tiredness and weight loss in some people.

The symptoms for Type 2 diabetes come along

very slowly and some people don't have any symptoms at all.

So for that reason, people can live with Type 2 diabetes for up to 10 years

before they realise that they have it. Type 2 diabetes

can be treated in a number of different ways. Initially it may be sufficient to

make changes to the food you're eating

and to take extra physical activity or lose any weight

that may be appropriate. But Type 2 diabetes

is a progressive condition and most people will need some form

of medication to treat it


The Description of Diabetes and the body | Diabetes UK