A Reminder to Be Kind to Your Pancreas

Because the pancreas is the organ responsible for insulin production, the best way to be kind to your pancreas is to follow the recommendations for treating or preventing diabetes.

During American Diabetes Awareness Month, we are urged to eat right, move more, sit less and above all—be aware of how our daily choices directly and indirectly affect our over-all health, whether we have diabetes, care for someone who has diabetes or simply wish to prevent it.

To stay abreast of the most recent information about diabetes, read the American Diabetes Association's 2015 Fact Sheet.

The subject of diabetes awareness reminds me of the pharmacy technician students I taught in anatomy classes. We had a small, transparent model of the human body that could be opened and the organs inside the abdominal and chest cavities could be removed. For an exam, I would lay each organ on a table and have the students name them and put them back into the proper place inside the body.

When each student finished, I noticed the organ that was often left out when they closed the body was the pancreas. The little, hard-working pink thing just hung out on the table because some students didn't know what it was or where it lived, much less what it did.

According to my son, who is a critical care nurse, I should have flunked anyone who left it out, because they would have killed the human model. "Do they know the pancreas is actually one of the most important organs?" he asked me. "It is an endocrine and an exocrine gland. It makes insulin and it supplies digestive enzymes. Without serious medical management, you cannot live without one."

Critical care nurses are acutely aware of the importance of the pancreas, because they often see the results when things go wrong. The experience told me my students needed more education about its function (which was not extensively-covered in the course material) and it underscored the need for diabetes education among the general population and the importance of awareness campaigns, such as the one held each November.

2111bListening to the rich imagery in Belleruth's Control Diabetes audio program, endorsed and distributed by the American Association of Diabetes Educators, is an excellent way to get a sense of the awesome role the pancreas plays in maintaining health.

To learn more about the role you can play in diabetes education, read the National Diabetes Education Program's Everyone Has a Role. What's Yours?

To hear the good news about the use of mind-body modalities in the management of diabetes, read Belleruth's Good News: Guided Imagery Really Does Make a Dent on Diabetes.

Let us know your thoughts and experiences. As always, we love hearing from you.

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