Infections That Cause High Blood Sugar  

Diabetes is a metabolic syndrome or a set of related diseases that originate when the body is unable to regulate the levels of glucose in the blood. The impact of diabetes on human life is so tremendous that around $132 billion is spent in the U.S every year by 20 million Americans in order to get relief from the ailment.

There are several risk factors that can cause diabetes. Some of these include age, inheritance, lifestyle, dietary habits, obesity, lack of physical activity, smoking and high alcohol consumption. Out of several factors that cause diabetes, one important factor that can cause severe damage to the pancreas and result in the disease is infection from pathogens such as viruses and bacteria.

Certain viruses are capable of infecting the pancreas, leading to the destruction of beta cells of Islets of Langerhans, finally impairing the secretion of insulin resulting in increased blood sugar levels, a condition better known as type I diabetes. These types of infections generally occur in individuals who are genetically susceptible.

There are different ways in which infectious agents such as viruses cause diabetes. One way is to destroy the beta cells. Other ways include molecular mimicry and bystander activation, where autoreactive T cells are activated triggering an autoimmune reaction against the beta cells resulting in their destruction. This results in the onset of type 1 diabetes. Some important examples of such viruses with diabetogenic potential include Coxsackie B3 virus (CVB3), Cytomegalovirus (CMV) and Lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV). Infection with LCMV results in a condition known as chronic pancreatitis, an inflammation of the pancreas.

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