Significance to humans

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Helodermatids are the only lizards known to be venomous. Their venom apparatus consists of multilobed glands that empty through ducts at the base of grooved, venom-conducting teeth. In contrast to snakes, the venom glands of Gila monsters and beaded lizards are housed in the lower jaw rather than the upper jaw. Their venom is used primarily for defense. A bite from a Gila monster or a beaded lizard causes excruciating pain, swelling, and, in more severe bites, a rapid drop in blood pressure, profuse sweating, and vomiting. Bites to people are rare and almost always result from careless handling. Despite numerous exaggerated accounts before 1950, there has not been a human death reported from a Gila monster bite since 1930. This is attributable more to improved accuracy of reporting and medical record-keeping than to reduced bite frequency or advances in treatment. No first aid measures are recommended aside from carefully cleaning the wound and seeking immediate medical attention. Several important biologically active peptides were discovered in the venom of helodermatid lizards in the 1990s. The best known of these, Exendin 4, is very effective at inducing insulin release in human subjects and has become a promising tool for the treatment of diabetes.

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Diabetes 2

Diabetes 2

Diabetes is a disease that affects the way your body uses food. Normally, your body converts sugars, starches and other foods into a form of sugar called glucose. Your body uses glucose for fuel. The cells receive the glucose through the bloodstream. They then use insulin a hormone made by the pancreas to absorb the glucose, convert it into energy, and either use it or store it for later use. Learn more...

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