Author Sidebar: In order for me to understand diabetes at the cellular level, I had to understand the following areas of science:

  • Pathophysiology
  • Epidemiology
  • Pathogenesis
  • Etiology
  • Cell Biology
  • Cell Repair & Healing
  • Nutritional Science

Obviously, this is not a complete list, but, here are some of the key sciences that help to better understand diseases like Type 2 diabetes.

Science: The Major Sciences

Pathophysiology is the physiology of abnormal states; specifically: the functional changes that accompany a particular syndrome or disease. Pathology is the medical discipline that describes conditions typically observed during a disease state, whereas physiology is the biological discipline that describes processes or mechanisms operating within an organism.

Pathology describes the abnormal or undesired condition, whereupon pathophysiology seeks to explain the physiological processes or mechanisms whereby such condition develops and progresses.

Epidemiology is the incidence, distribution, and control of disease in a population. More specifically, epidemiology is the study (or the science of the study) of the patterns, causes, and effects of health and disease conditions in defined populations.

It is the cornerstone of public health, and informs policy decisions and evidence-based practice by identifying risk factors for disease and targets for preventive healthcare.

Epidemiology, literally meaning "the study of what is upon the people", is derived from the Greek epi, meaning "upon, among", demos, meaning "people, district", and logos, meaning "study, word, discourse".

Pathogenesis of a disease is the mechanism that causes the disease. The term can also describe the origin and development of the disease, and whether it is acute, chronic, or recurrent. The word comes from the Greek pathos ("disease") and genesis ("creation").

Etiology is the study of causation, or origination of a disease. The word is derived from the Greek aitiologia -- "giving a reason for".

More specifically, etiology is the study of why things occur, or even the reasons behind the way that things act, and is used in philosophy, physics, psychology, government, medicine, geography, spatial analysis, theology, and biology in reference to the causes of various phenomena.

Cell Biology is a scientific discipline that studies cells – their physiological properties, their structure, the organelles they contain, interactions with their environment, their life cycle, division and death. This is done both on a microscopic and molecular level.

Knowing the components of cells and how cells work is fundamental to all biological sciences. Appreciating the similarities and differences between cell types is particularly important to the fields of cell and molecular biology as well as to biomedical fields such as cancer research and developmental biology.

These fundamental similarities and differences provide a unifying theme, sometimes allowing the principles learned from studying one cell type to be extrapolated and generalized to other cell types. Therefore, research in cell biology is closely related to genetics, biochemistry, molecular biology, and immunology.

Nutritional Science is the study of the effects of food components (macronutrients & micronutrients) on the metabolism, health, performance and disease resistance of humans and animals.

The understanding of this science is especially important when evaluating the impact that specific foods have on our cells.

Coincidentally, some of the areas of medical science correlate to some areas of engineering science. For example, etiology is similar to root cause analysis methods used in engineering to solve complex problems.

If you really want to understand a disease like Type 2 diabetes so that you can help improve your own health or the health of others, then, one of the best ways to do that is to learn about the science of disease (and human physiology) at the cellular level.

Science helps you learn how to analyze and solve complex problems and recognize when people (especially doctors) are not telling you the truth. Science will give you the insight to understand why most so-called "diabetes diets" don't work and why most diabetics are unable to improve their health.

But, more importantly, science will give you the knowledge and insight to help your diabetic clients improve their health.

And, once you accomplish this, it will give you more confidence and your clients will have so much confidence in you that they will gladly tell their friends and relatives about you.

In addition, science (and mathematics) will help to train and organize your brain so that you can think more logically and creatively in problem-solving and multi-tasking.

Science is not merely a collection of facts, concepts, and useful ideas about nature. Science is a method of investigating nature--a way of knowing about nature--that discovers reliable knowledge about it. In other words, science is a method of discovering reliable knowledge about nature.

Reliable knowledge is knowledge that has a high probability of being true because its veracity has been justified by a reliable method. Reliable knowledge is sometimes called justified true belief, to distinguish reliable knowledge from belief that is false and unjustified or even true but unjustified.

Every person has knowledge or beliefs, but not all of each person's knowledge is reliably true and justified. In fact, most individuals believe in things that are untrue or unjustified or both: most people possess a lot of unreliable knowledge and, what's worse, they act on that knowledge!

Science is a method that allows a person to possess reliable knowledge (justified true belief) about nature. The method used to acquire and utilize scientific knowledge to draw conclusions and make recommendations is called the Scientific Method.

The Scientific Method is a structured and organized process for answering questions and solving problems. The key steps of this process include: asking questions, making observations, gathering information, forming a hypothesis, testing the hypothesis, analyzing the data, drawing conclusions, and making recommendations based on the data and conclusions.

Now, if you look very closely at those steps, you should notice something very familiar about those steps. They happen to be very similar to the steps of my Death to Diabetes Health Coaching Process Model (Refer to the DTD Health Coaching ebook for more details).

Science is a powerful "way of knowing" based on experimentation and observations of the natural world. We depend on science for unbiased and verifiable information to make important decisions about our lives. Although there are other ways of knowing that may be important in our personal and cultural lives, they rely on opinion, belief, and other factors rather than on evidence and testing.

That is why there are so many contradictions and so much confusion about how to treat people with Type 2 diabetes. A lot of what people believe is based on pseudo-science and (false) information that everyone thought to be true.

So, instead of following the crowd, I decided to use the Scientific Method and my understanding of cellular biology and biochemistry to figure out the best way to treat my diabetes and hopefully get off the medications and save my legs and my eyesight.

And, once I improved my health and got off the medications, everyone I met wanted to know how I did it. I tried to explain the science behind what I did but I got nothing but glazed looks and dead silence from the audience. In fact, one person said: "You sound just like my doctor. I don't understand him and I surely don't understand you."

I quickly realized that I had to translate what I knew from a scientific perspective into a language that people would understand. Having been a technical trainer for a couple years during the early part of my career as an engineer, I knew how to "break down" the technical information into PowerPoint slides, pictures, diagrams and charts that the audience would be able to grasp without having to understand the science.

Ironically, I used the Scientific Method to come up with a way to communicate to the audience about diabetes and nutritional science without having to go into the technical details of the science itself. People loved the charts and diagrams, because it helped them to understand how to treat their diabetes and improve their health.

When one uses the Scientific Method to study or investigate nature (or a client's health), one is practicing a concept called "scientific thinking."

All scientists practice scientific thinking, of course, since they are actively studying nature and investigating the universe by using the scientific method. But scientific thinking is not reserved solely for scientists or doctors.

Anyone can "think like a scientist" -- as long as you use the scientific method and, more importantly, apply its concepts to what you're investigating. 

When one uses the methods and principles of scientific thinking in everyday life--such as when studying history, economics or seeking solutions to problems of disease, for example--one is said to be practicing critical thinking.

Critical thinking is thinking correctly for oneself that successfully leads to the most reliable answers to questions and solutions to problems. In other words, critical thinking gives you reliable knowledge about all aspects of your life and society, and is not restricted to the formal study of nature.

Scientific thinking is identical in theory and practice, but it focuses on giving you reliable knowledge about the natural world and the sciences. Clearly, scientific thinking and critical thinking are the same thing, but where one (scientific thinking) is always practiced by scientists, the other (critical thinking) is sometimes used by humans and sometimes not.

Here are some diagrams that depict how a cell works and how Type 2 diabetes develops at the cellular level.

The first diagram (3-D view) below depicts the major components of a living cell. Each of these components must function properly in order for a cell to perform its 5 major biological functions:

  • Absorb nutrients
  • Produce energy
  • Remove waste
  • Communicate
  • Repair/regenerate

If a cell is not healthy, it cannot perform these 5 functions effectively and efficiently.

Cell Overview: A cell contains many components, each with its own function. These components are made up of carbohydrates, proteins, fats and water. These components include a cell membrane, which contains a nucleus and cytoplasm and regulates what passes in and out.

The nucleus contains chromosomes, which are the cell's genetic material, and a nucleolus, which produces ribosomes. Ribosomes produce proteins, which are packaged by the Golgi apparatus so that they can leave the cell.

The cytoplasm consists of a fluid material and organelles, which could be considered the cell's organs. The endoplasmic reticulum transports materials within the cell.

Mitochondria generate energy for the cell's activities including the cell's 5 key functions.

Lysosomes contain enzymes that can break down particles entering the cell. Centrioles participate in cell division.

The cell membrane has receptors that identify the cell to other cells and react to substances put in the body (e.g. food, drugs), selectively allowing these substances to enter and leave the cell. Reactions that take place at the receptors often alter or control a cell's functions.

An example of this is when insulin binds to receptors on the cell membrane to maintain appropriate blood sugar levels and to allow glucose to enter cells.

FYI: The following diagram is a simpler view of the major components of a living cell. Refer to the Science of Diabetes ebook for details about what each of the cell components do within the human body.

The following flow chart shows how biological processes such as insulin resistance and hyperglycemia lead to damaged cells, which leads to diseases such as heart disease, retinopathy and neuropathy.

Types of Cells That Are Damaged from Type 2 Diabetes

The following diagram shows how a cell is unable to perform its 5primary functions due to insulin resistance and inflamamtion.

Insulin Resistance and Inflammation

The following diagram shows what cells are damaged due to Type 2 diabetes, leading to various  diabetic complications.

Type 2 Diabetes Pathogenesis: Cells Impacted

The following diagram shows the major stages of how Type 2 diabetes develops at the macro-level: from hyperglycemia to insulin resistance, impaired glucose tolerance, and prediabetes; and, finally, to full-blown diabetes. 

Key Point: Please take note that "prediabetes" is actually one of the stages of Type 2 diabetes pathogenesis! If people with prediabetes understood this, then, they would take prediabetes a lot more seriosuly.

Type 2 Diabetes Pathogenesis (Flowchart)

The following diagram shows how Type 2 diabetes is a series of vicious cycles that fuel each other, enabling the disease to develop and progress, deteriorating the body over a period of many years. 

Biological Cycles of Type 2 Diabetes

For more details about these diagrams and the science of diabetes, get the author's Science of Diabetes & Nutrition ebook.

Also, refer to the following web pages:

If you understand even just a little bit of the science of diabetes, then, you know that your body will continue to breakdown and eventually develop one or more of the major diabetic complications, e.g. retinopathy, nephropathy, neuropathy, or heart disease.

However, there is no need for you to understand all of the science of diabetes or any of these diagrams at the level that the author understands them!

All you have to do is follow the step-by-step procedures in the Death to Diabetes book.

And, for those of you who are healthcare professionals, these diagrams can be helpful by giving you a better understanding to help your diabetic clients. If you want us to help improve your credibility and expertise with your clients, you may want to get the author's Science of Diabetes ebook, PowerPoint Slides package or one of the Health Coaching & Training ProgramKits.

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 Disclaimer: This site does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Copyright © 2016. Death to Diabetes, LLC. All rights reserved.