Sunday, February 12, 2012

Glucagon effects your life every day

Glucagon Emergency Kit
Time Saver Hint - Read the bold print only and save about 65 seconds of your day
Most people with Diabetes  type 1 and type 2 are familiar with and may have used glucagon to treat an episode of severe hypoglycemia ( the person is unconscious or for other reasons cannot glucose orally ). They know that injected glucagon causes the release of glucose from the hypoglycemic persons liver and allows them to recover . I suggest that the person responsible for giving the injection read the directions and understand what they will need to do before  the injection is ever needed.

What about glucagon and its impact on people with type 1 and type 2 Diabetes each day .Glucagon is made in The Alpha cell in our pancreas. One function of the liver is to act as a storage depot for glucose and glucagon is the key to opening that storage depot when glucose is needed to maintain  body function especially the brain.  The release of glucagon is the first line of defense when there is an unexpected drop in blood glucose and unfortunately it is also the first causality in our bodies defense  against low blood sugar levels in process of developing Hypoglycemic unawareness.

We generally think of Glucagon and it's evolvement in preventing and correcting hypoglycemia. However it 's larger role is in the day to day struggles with controlling  blood glucose  levels. People with Type  1 and Type 2 Diabetes have Dysfunctional Alpha cells resulting in the inappropriate release of glucagon.
The unexplained high fasting glucose test or the unexplainable  high glucose after a meal that normally does not cause much of increase in glucose , can be related to glucagon.

 Alpha cells release of glucagon is tied to the problems of insulin deficiency .Low insulin levels act as a trigger for the release of glucagon and the resulting increase in blood glucose levels. Everyone with type 1 or type 2 Diabetes have insulin deficiency and inappropriate glucagon release complicating their glucose management efforts.

Some of the newer medications have been helpful in managing glucagon secretion . These medications include insulin , GLP -1 agonist , DPP-4 inhibitors and Symlin ( pramlintide ).

We discussed GLP-1 agonist yesterday tomorrow I will review more on GLP-1 and DPP-4 inhibitors( tradgenta (linagliptin) ,Onglyza ( saxagliptin) and Januvia (sitagliptin ) tomorrow.

If you have questions about any diabetes related problem please use the comment section or email me at

  Have Fun be Smart and Defeat Diabetes
  David Calder,MD 

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Your comments and questions are appreciated. David Calder,MD