August 9


What Role Does the Pancreas Play in Diabetes?

By Gabriela

August 9, 2022

The pancreas is an organ located in front of the spine behind the lower part of the stomach.

It has a crucial part in diabetes. This is mostly because it produces one of the most important hormones for regulating blood glucose levels, insulin.

Moreover, the pancreas is important for two separate organ systems, the exocrine and the endocrine system. The exocrine system consists of multiple glands that can release substances like saliva, sweat, and digestive enzymes in the pancreas.

Pancreas and Insulin

The pancreas can produce insulin because of the beta cells. Insulin, on the other hand, is a hormone that helps manage blood sugar levels and transports glucose from one blood cell to the other.

Type 1 Diabetes

This type of diabetes makes the person dependent on insulin. Besides, this chronic condition can produce little or no insulin at all in the pancreas. But, humans need insulin if they want to have more energy.

Furthermore, many factors can contribute to this condition, or in other words, cause it. These factors are genetics or viruses. It doesn’t matter whether you are a child or an adult, anyone can get it.


Many symptoms might indicate you have diabetes type 1. Here is a list of some of the more common ones:

  • Extreme hunger
  • Frequent urination
  • Unintended weight loss
  • Fatigue and weakness
  • Bed-wetting in children who didn’t do this previously
  • Irritability and other mood changes
  • Blurred vision
  • Increased thirst.

Type 2 Diabetes

When your blood sugar or blood glucose is too high, it means you have diabetes type 2. This is the most common type of diabetes that doesn’t allow the body to create and use insulin properly.

Without it, the glucose stays in the blood and creates numerous problems.

These serious problems are with the nerves, eyes, heart, gums, and teeth. Moreover, you can develop this condition if you are obese, have a history of diabetes in your family, are older, or you don’t exercise at all.


The symptoms of type 2 diabetes appear very slowly. As a result, some people won’t even know they have it. Here is a list of some of the most common symptoms of this type of diabetes:

  • Losing weight with no effort
  • Urinating too often
  • Having blurry eyesight
  • Feeling very thirsty all the time
  • Your sores tend to heal very slowly
  • Tired and hungry at all times.

But, if you want to determine if you have diabetes or not, you should get a blood test. Consult with a doctor to test your blood glucose levels.


This is a condition that serves as a warning. If you have prediabetes, you should try to treat it and avoid diabetes. To recognize it, you have to measure your blood sugar. If it is too high but not as high as diabetes, you have prediabetes.

So, if you don’t take care of it on time, you might increase the risk of getting a stroke or heart disease.

The Connection Between Diabetes and The Pancreas

The inflammation of the pancreas is known as pancreatitis. If it lasts for a couple of days, it is called acute pancreatitis, but if it lasts for many years, it goes by the name chronic pancreatitis. It is treatable, but you need to go to a hospital to do it.

However, if you ignore it for a longer period, it can become dangerous for your life. In addition, chronic inflammation of the pancreas can hurt the cells that produce insulin and cause diabetes.

Plus, diabetes type 2 and pancreatitis even have the same risk factors.

According to studies, people who have this kind of diabetes have a two or threefold chance of increased risk of developing acute pancreatitis. Here is a list of the possible causes of pancreatitis:

  • High levels of triglyceride
  • Drinking too much alcohol
  • High levels of calcium
  • Gallstones.

Furthermore, diabetes can increase the risk of pancreatic cancer if you have had diabetes for five years or more. This problem is especially important if you recently developed type 2 diabetes after the age of 50.

Or, if you always used to manage your diabetes and blood sugar, but now for some reason, you can’t. This means that you might have problems with your pancreas. Some of the risk factors include:

  • Physical inactivity
  • Aging
  • Poor diet
  • Obesity.

Besides, there is a chance that pancreatic cancer won’t cause any symptoms while it is in the first stages.

But, you can recognize it once the pancreatic cells start to mutate. Even though the reasons for this condition are still unknown, some factors may include smoking and genetically inherited problems.

What Should You Do?

If you have diabetes, that doesn’t mean you will develop problems with your pancreas. Or, even if you have pancreatitis, that doesn’t mean you will develop diabetes. Those are entirely different conditions.

But they have a slight connection, insulin. If you want to know more about the connection between the pancreas and diabetes, feel free to consult with your doctor. So, if you want to improve your health, you have to implement new changes in your life.

If you want to be able to reduce the chance of developing pancreatitis and diabetes, you should try to:

  • Exercise regularly,
  • Consume less or a moderate amount of carbohydrates,
  • If you have diabetes, follow a prescribed treatment plan that your doctor recommended,
  • Focus on a healthy and well-balanced diet,
  • Don’t drink too much alcohol,
  • Consult with your doctor about how you should keep a healthy weight.

Sources: HealthLine | Mayo Clinic | Medline Plus | The Global Diabetes Community


  • Gabriela

    Co-Founder & Editor-in-Chief of Diabetes Health Page, Fitness trainer and instructor has dedicated her career to educating and informing people for over 10 years. As one of the most passionate diabetes advocates, Gabi has worked tirelessly to ensure that those people receive the education and support they need to properly manage their diabetes and achieve their health, fitness and weight loss goals.

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