Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The Kool-Aid Man and My Liver.

"Who's thirsty for glycogen?!"

You can tell I'm concentrating really hard at work when thoughts like this pop into my head: 

My liver reminds me of the Kool-Aid Man.  (And yes, it's a clip from Family Guy.)

Here's some science-ish background*:  glycogen, which is the stored form of glucose (a fancy word for sugar), is the fuel stored in our livers and the cells of our muscles.  The liver is the body's main converter of glucose to glycogen, and also of glycogen back to glucose when immediate energy is needed.  (There's a lot to say about this subject, but I'm trying to keep it brief.)  For diabetics, not only does the immune system mess with the pancreas and its insulin productivity, it also messes with the "on/off switch" that tells the liver when to kick out some glucose. 

What does this mean for me?  It means that if my blood sugar level drops too low while I'm sleeping, my body won't necessarily correct itself, like "everyone else".  (Oh, diabetes.  How many more of my organs are you going to mess with?)  For a person without diabetes in the above mentioned situation, the liver would convert exactly the right amount of glycogen to glucose, it would go to work, and your blood glucose level would go back to normal.  (Ta da!) 

Likewise, it also means my liver can kick out glucose when it isn't really needed.  I've seen proof on my CGM screen when I wake up:  I drifted down to 80 or so, and for absolutely no reason, shot up past 200.  I mean, I'm sleeping.  Or was I sleep-eating?  (Maybe I should learn to sleep-bolus, in that case...  I digress.)

So, in my mind, my liver is the Kool-Aid Man.  He bursts onto the scene unexpectedly, without invitation, and fills me up with sugar.  (And apparently takes a lot of time off from work, too.)

What a jerk. 

*It should be noted that I have absolutely, positively no medical training or professional medical education, outside of my own personal medical history, knowledge, and understanding.  Hopefully I explained things in a manner that is at least mostly accurate.

3 comments:

  1. 100% accurate and funny too :o) ~C

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  2. I recently learned that our livers also dump glucose when we eat! Talk about a double whammy!

    I totally think the Kool-Aid man is an awesome representation of that. Oh Yeah! LOL!

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  3. That's exactly what happens in my head, too. I see 200+ when I wake up, and think "Oh no!", and then Kool-Aid Man, in his baritone, says "OH YEAH!" At least I get a chuckle out of it.

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