Almost 50 % of type one diabetics and about 33 % of type 2 diabetics will develop a pancreatic insufficiency in the course of their disease.
The reason for the increased risk in diabetics to develop Pancreatic Insufficiency is not fully understood, but evidence suggests, that the endocrine components which produce insulin and the exocrine components of the pancreas which produce pancreatic elastase have a close anatomical and functional inter-relationship so that an impairment of the endocrine system will affect the exocrine system (as in diabetes) and vice versa.
Diagnosing pancreatic insufficiency
Pancreatic insufficiency can easily be diagnosed by determining the concentration of pancreatic elastase in stool samples and successfully be treated by substitution therapy. Pancreatic elastase is highly specific for the human pancreas and resistant to intestinal degradation.
The Pancreatic Elastase ELISA is an enzyme linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) for the quantitative determination of human pancreatic elastase in stool as an aid in the diagnosis of the exocrine pancreatic function.
You can find further information on the Pancreatic Elastase ELISA product page.
About Diabetes mellitus
Diabetes mellitus is a disease of the metabolism, in which the blood sugar levels are permanently elevated caused by a loss of insulin producing cells, (Type1-Diabetes) or by insulin resistant cells which can no longer react naturally to insulin (Type2-Diabetes).
About the pancreas
The pancreas is an organ which is an integral part of the digestive system. It has two functionally different gland cells. Exocrine cells secrete digestive enzymes relevant for the breakdown of food into absorbable particles into the digestive system. Endocrine cells produce and release hormones such as insulin. Both are released to the bloodstream and are relevant for maintaining the level of sugar in the blood.
About pancreatic insufficiency
Exocrine pancreatic insufficiency (PEI) usually occurs when pancreatic enzyme output is decreased by more than 90 %. This leads to malabsorption-related diarrhea, steatorrhea (excess of fat in stool), weight loss, and other gastrointestinal symptoms.