Pancreas, O Pancreas! It's the coolest organ/gland in your entire body! It's an organ! It's a gland! It's an endocrine AND exocrine gland! It's a orgland! Or is it a glagan? Seriously, we need a new word here, people. Unless your pancreas is busted/retired, this is how it's supposed to work:
Your pancreas produces hormones (endocrine gland, meaning stuff that goes into your blood) that go into the bloodstream that help turn food into energy. The pancreas also makes fluids that go directly into your digestive system (exocrine gland, meaning stuff that squirts directly into the body) to help break down food. The excocrine stuff is pancreatic juice and enzymes and the endocrine stuff includes hormones like insulin, glucagon and somatostatins. Also the pancreas has a ton of really fun nooks and crannies with colorful ye olde names like the Duct of Wirsung and the Islets of Langerhans, named after a bunch of dead anatomists:
And if we can geek out a bit more, here is how one of the pancreas' most famous hormones -- insulin -- works inside your body to help you transform lunch into energy.
Well, the pancreas is one complicated organ, as you can see. I haven't even gone into the different types of cells and the different stuff they make: to summarize: alpha cells make glucagon, beta cells make insulin, delta cells make somatostatins. These graphics here are a mere pancreatic sampling of the wonders that lie just beneath your skin! For a deeper understanding of your pancreas, crack open that anatomy textbook and take a deeper dive into this amazing organ! And if you need funny diabetes gifts, you know we bring the pancreas party with the best gifts for your Diabetes Warrior.