Biology, Eighth Edition (Raven)

Chapter 48: The Digestive System

Blood Sugar Regulation in Diabetics

Why is insulin often not a good treatment for people with type II diabetes? Diabetes exists in two forms. Type I diabetes occurs at an early age and is a very serious disease. Before the discovery of insulin, individuals with type I diabetes did not have a long life expectancy. Type II diabetes is known as adult onset diabetes. Although still very serious, type II diabetes is generally less severe than type I. Type II is often associated with obesity and with a diet rich in simple carbohydrates. The situation is in type II diabetes is crudely analogous to the development of alcohol tolerance. Long term exposure to high levels of simple carbohydrates appears to reduce the body’s normal response to insulin, presumably because insulin is present in high concentrations in the blood. Therefore giving people with type II diabetes extra insulin is unlikely to be very effective over the long term. Increasing the level of insulin in the blood will lead to an increasing level of tolerance of the cells for insulin.

View the animation below, then complete the quiz to test your knowledge of the concept.


After eating a meal, blood sugar levels
C)do not change.

Insulin, released after a meal is eaten by a person who does not have diabetes, will cause blood sugar levels to
A)increase far above normal.
B)return to about normal.
C)decrease far below normal.
D)convert to protein.

In Type I diabetes blood sugar levels remain high after a meal because
A)too much insulin is released.
B)protein is converted to glucose.
C)no insulin is released.
D)the kidneys are not working.

In Type II diabetes blood sugar levels remain high after a meal because
A)too much insulin is released.
B)the kidneys are not working.
C)no insulin in released.
D)muscle and liver cells do not receive a signal.

The treatment for Type I diabetes always includes
A)oral thiazolidinedione.
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