The role of the intestine in type 2 diabetes …

Researchers at the University of Adelaide have discovered that the way the gut ‘tastes’ sweet food may be defective in sufferers of type 2 diabetes, leading to problems with glucose uptake.

This interests me greatly as I have type 2 diabetes. I developed the condition after an operation on an infected Meckel’s Diverticulum necessitated removal of a section of my small intestine. The Meckel’s was undiagnosed for over four years as bleeding from my bowel, noticed by a young hospital doctor prior to an operation on my bladder, was ignored by my then General Practioner. Following the operation, I began to experience unnerving symptoms, most disturbing of which was falling asleep immediately after eating potatoes. Yes, it sounds weird now but at the time it was quite frightening. For some reason, my GP referred me to a hospital clinic that dealt with irritable bowel syndrome. At the clinic my urine was tested; I was told I had glucose in my urine and should report it to my GP. My GP, however, told me I was not nearly fat enough to have diabetes and ignored it. Two years later, the GP retired and another GP was appointed to the practise. I told him about my symptoms, he referred me to a diabetes clinic and type 2 diabetes was diagnosed.

I was told many times that I was not fat enough to have diabetes and I admit that I was quite lean. I certainly did not fit into the classification of a patient who might be considered at risk of diabetes. But if my diabetes was not caused by being overweight what did cause it? This new Australian study may offer an insight. My intestines had been infected for a number of years by the deteriorating condition of the Meckel’s and the operation on the small intestine caused more trauma.

My diabetes has now progressed and I am insulin dependent. It would be interesting to know if my pancreas was affected by the trauma to my intestine or if, once I had the condition, it progressed in a way that would be considered ‘normal’.

Isn’t the human body wonderful – a biological machine that can malfunction in so many ways and needs regular inspections and maintenance by mechanics (doctors and nurses) who actually know what they are doing!

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