Type 1 diabetics require insulin injections because of failure of beta-cells of the pancrease to produce and secrete insulin (1). Thus, insulin injections play a vital role for being sure glucose metabolism is regulated and, effectively, lowering blood glucose (1). The insulin increases glucose oxidation, glycogen deposition, lipogenesis, protein synthesis and cell replication (1).
Insulin's absence causes uncontrolled catabolic hormones causing aberrations in metabolism of carbohydrates, fat and protein (1). Reduced glucose cellular uptake in muscle and adipose tissue cells severely affects them. The ultimate response on the body can be more violent than fasting or starvation (1). Hyperglycemia increases hepatic glucose output causes an osmotic diuresis and the water lost compounded by hyperpnea of acidosis, which could lead to dehydration (1).
Dehydration can lead to circulatory failure due to hemoconcentration via hypoxia shifting tissues to anaerobic metabolism (1). The situation causes acidosis to worsen due to higher concentration of lactic acid in the blood (1). Sodium is lost in diuresis caused by the ketonuria and glucosuria (1). Potassium is lost accompanying catabolism of protein and dehydration (1). Thus, not only are muscles and adipose tissue starved, but the resulting circulatory failure and hypotension could lead to low cerebral and renal blood flow (1). Ultimately, coma and death could follow (1).
1. Gropper SS, Smith JL, Groff JL. Advanced Nutrition and Human Metabolism. Belmont, CA: Thomson Wadsworth, 2009, p277.