Medical Illustrations

Mon, 2010-11-01 11:12
01. November 2010
A new series of medical illustrations for a presentation on emergencies for diabetes patients.

With diabetic patients the normal regulation of the blood glucose level has failed. They have to compensate this by taking medication, but in certain circumstances this artificial regulation may fail, and they are threatened by both high and low blood glucose levels. Both situations can be life-threatening, and a low-level situation can develop within a very short time. 

Both types of Diabetes are characterized by a partially or full lack of insulin, a hormone produced in the pancreas. Insulin helps the body cells to consume glucose, the sugar dissolved and transported in the blood. If the body does not produce enough insulin, the cells can't consume the blood sugar and generate the energy they need to provide their regular functions. The glucose is accumulated in the blood, and above a level of 160 mg/dl excreted via the urine.

Ketoacidosis is a metabolic state associated with high concentrations of ketone bodies, formed by the breakdown of fatty acids and the deamination of amino acids. If the body cells don't receive enough blood sugar they start to use fats to generate energy. As insulin is missing to support this process, the fat cannot fully transform, and ketone bodies are created. These are transported out of the cell, and raise the acid level in the blood.

The illustration is one of a series, all of which have been used on and, after frequent requests by students and news magazines, have been released with a Creative Commons License.


50° 25' 29.3376" N, 7° 34' 22.2312" E