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Definition - What does glucagon mean?

Glucagon is a hormone secreted by the pancreas that helps regulate glucose levels in the bloodstream by preventing low sugar imbalances that can disrupt metabolic functions and processes necessary for promoting and sustaining energy. The interrelationship between glucagon and insulin, a hormone that checks high glucose levels, undergo a biochemical process called glycogenolysis where the liver is the locus for metabolizing glycogen into glucose that enters the bloodstream.

SureHire explains glucagon

Glucagon production is a physiological element of the body that prevents feelings of lethargy, vertigo (dizziness), or general weakness where protein consumption, adrenaline secretion, and low sugar concentration of the blood are key factors. Carbohydrate depletion in one’s diet triggers the release of glucagon from alpha cells found in the islets of Langerhans and pancreas where adipose (fat) tissue cells act as a reserve source of energy. Although cases are rare, individuals can develop a tumor called glucagonoma, causing elevated glucose levels that carry epidemiological implications, for example, diabetes mellitus.

Individuals experiencing fluctuating glucagon levels may need to consult a physician to determine if an underlying etiological condition exists, such as hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) or hyperglycemia (high blood sugar). Both glucagon and insulin serve contributing roles in stabilizing glucose levels to maintain the intracellular activity of the muscles, fat tissue, and red blood cells. When fasting, a physician follows a criterion in measuring glucose levels in the blood where a median range between 70 milligrams and 110 milligrams is considered normal.

Because glucagon directly influences blood glucose levels, proper nutrition consisting of sufficient carbohydrates is beneficial in keeping glucose levels steady. Moreover, individuals with diabetes must ensure their insulin injection shots are the appropriate dosage to avoid a decrease in glucose levels that could lead to detrimental health effects. In the workplace, diabetes and hypoglycemia are legitimate medical conditions where standing laws require employers to provide reasonable accommodations by allowing employees to check blood sugar levels.

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