What Causes Polyphagia in Diabetes?

Polyphagia is a condition that refers to an increased food intake. This condition is often common in diabetes patients.

Diabetes patients can develop an uncontrolled food cravings and this can result in a huge increase in his or her appetite. Patients suffering from Polyphagia tend to complain of hunger pangs very frequently. The insatiable hunger linked to polyphagia will compel a person to gobble huge amount of food every meal. This is why if you are diabetic, you can still feel very hungry early in the morning even if you have eaten huge meal the previous night.

What Causes Polyphagia in Diabetes

As mentioned, polyphagia is commonly associated to diabetes. Diabetes patients tend to eat more than the usual. They feel very hungry too often and as a result, they end up eating more than the usual.

For healthy individuals who are not suffering from diabetes or other condition, the food that they consumed converts to glucose. The glucose act as a fuel to your body cells for your body to carry out the necessary functions. The insulin hormones secreted by the pancreas help to ensure the flow of glucose into cells.

If you have diabetes, the glucose does not enter your body cells. This is either due to insulin insufficiency or insulin resistance. In this case,  cell absorption of the glucose will not take place. There is always a small amount of glucose that’s present in the bloodstream. However, since the body cells do not absorb glucose, it causes pooling of glucose to the bloodstream. Despite of high amounts of glucose circulating in the bloodstream, body cells can be deprived of glucose. The cellular response to glucose starvation can result in frequent hunger pangs, which is a symptom of polyphagia.

Excessive Eating in Diabetes

Body cells deprived of glucose are the main culprit for inducing hunger pangs in diabetes patients. This is because when the body cells lack glucose molecules, they notify the brain. The body cells use hormones in stimulating the hypothalamus of one’s brain and this will eventually cause one to always crave for food. The hunger signals sent by body cells is what triggers excessive eating among diabetic patients.

In conclusion, glucose-starved cells are responsible for a patient’s craving for large amount of food and frequent hunger pangs, or polyphagia.

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    • Lindsay,
      To correct polyphagia, you have to first treat the underlying cause of polyphagia which, in the context of the above article, is diabetes. Make sure to take your insulin and other diabetes medication regularly. As mentioned in the article, glucose-deprived cells causes hunger pang and hence polyphagia. Regular intake of insulin helps to deliver glucose into your body cells and can reduce hunger pangs. Talk to your doctor if you suffer from polyphagia. Your doctor may adjust your insulin dosage when necessary.

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