What is Type 2 Diabetes

What is Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 diabetes is often diagnosed in adults, but it is increasingly occurring in children and adolescents. The exact cause of type 2 diabetes is unknown, but it is believed to be due to a combination of genetic and environmental factors.

Type 2 diabetes can be controlled with diet, exercise, and medication. However, if left untreated, it can lead to serious health complications, such as heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, and nerve damage.

Risk factors

There are two main types of diabetes, type 1 and type 2. Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes, accounting for 90% of all diabetes cases. It is caused by a combination of lifestyle and genetic factors. Let’s look at some of the risk factors for type 2 diabetes.


There are many risk factors for type 2 diabetes, but obesity is one of the most important. Obesity is a condition in which a person has an excess of body fat. body mass index (BMI) is a measure of body fat that is used to diagnose obesity. A BMI of 30 or more is considered obese.

Obesity is a major risk factor for type 2 diabetes because it leads to insulin resistance. Insulin resistance is when the body’s cells do not respond properly to insulin. This can cause the body to make more insulin, and over time, too much insulin can lead to type 2 diabetes.

Obesity is also a risk factor for other conditions that can lead to type 2 diabetes, such as fatty liver disease and sleep apnea. Treatment for obesity often includes lifestyle changes such as diet and exercise, as well as medication.

Family history

If you have a parent, brother or sister with type 2 diabetes, your risk is higher. So people of the same family tend to get it more often. In addition, if someone in your family has metabolic syndrome — a cluster of conditions that includes increased blood pressure, high insulin levels, excess body fat around the waist and abnormal lipid (cholesterol and triglyceride) levels — your risk is even greater.


Type 2 diabetes is more common in certain ethnic groups, such as people of Hispanic, African, or Asian descent.1-3 In the United States, type 2 diabetes accounts for about 90% to 95% of all cases of diabetes.4

Prediabetes is a condition in which your blood sugar (glucose) level is higher than normal but not high enough yet to be diagnosed as type 2 diabetes.5 People with prediabetes are at increased risk for developing type 2 diabetes as well as for heart disease and stroke.1-3

According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), African Americans are almost twice as likely as whites to have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. Asians are at increased risk, especially South Asians. Native Americans and Alaska Natives also have a higher rate of type 2 diabetes compared with whites. Hispanics/Latinos may have up to an 80% greater risk than whites.1-3


The risk of type 2 diabetes increases as you get older, especially after age 45. The exact reason for this isn’t known, but it’s partly because people tend to gain weight as they age. And the more weight you have, the greater your chance of developing type 2 diabetes.

Several other factors can contribute to your risk for type 2 diabetes as you get older. These include:

-A family history of type 2 diabetes
-A sedentary lifestyle
-Unhealthy eating habits
-Certain ethnic groups, such as African Americans, Hispanics/Latinos, American Indians and Asian Americans
-Excess abdominal fat

Physical inactivity

Being physically active is one of the most important things you can do to prevent and manage type 2 diabetes.

Regular physical activity can help you:

  • lower your blood glucose levels
  • lose weight or maintain a healthy weight
  • lower your blood pressure
  • improve your lipid (fat) profile
  • reduce stress and relax
  • improve your overall health and well-being.
    A person with diabetes mellitus type 2 may experience any or all of the following symptoms. polyuria (frequent urination), polydipsia (increased thirst), polyphagia (increased hunger), fatigue, weight loss, and blurred vision.
    Frequent urination
    One of the earliest signs of type 2 diabetes is increased urination (polyuria). When your blood sugar is elevated, your kidneys draw water out of your bloodstream in an effort to dilute it and remove it from your body. This increases the amount of urine produced and causes you to have to urinate more frequently, particularly at night (nocturia).
    Excessive thirst
    If you have type 2 diabetes, you may feel extremely thirsty (polydipsia) and have to urinate more often than normal (polyuria). These symptoms occur because when there is too much glucose (sugar) in your blood, your body tries to remove it by flushing it out through your urine. This causes more fluid to be removed from your body and can lead to dehydration.

One of the most common symptoms of type 2 diabetes is fatigue. If you have type 2 diabetes, you may feel tired all the time, even after you’ve had a full night’s sleep. This fatigue occurs because your body can’t use insulin properly. When your body can’t use insulin properly, your cells have trouble getting the glucose (sugar) they need for energy. This can lead to fatigue.


There are different types of diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is when your body can’t produce insulin. Type 2 diabetes is when your body doesn’t use insulin properly.

Insulin resistance

Type 2 diabetes is a condition that is caused by the body’s inability to properly use insulin. Insulin is a hormone that helps the body to process sugar, and when there is insulin resistance, the body cannot use it effectively. This can lead to a build-up of sugar in the blood, which can eventually lead to diabetes.

There are a number of factors that can contribute to insulin resistance, including genetics, lifestyle choices, and other health conditions. Obesity is one of the most common causes of insulin resistance, and people who are overweight or obese are at a higher risk for developing type 2 diabetes. Other causes include lack of physical activity, poor diet, and certain medical conditions such as PCOS or kidney disease.

If you have any of the risk factors for insulin resistance, it’s important to make lifestyle changes that can help to prevent the development of type 2 diabetes. Eating a healthy diet and getting regular exercise are two of the best ways to do this. If you’re already living with type 2 diabetes, managing your condition with medication and making healthy choices can help you to stay healthy and avoid complications.

Pancreatic beta cell dysfunction

Pancreatic beta cell dysfunction is thought to be a major cause of type 2 diabetes. Beta cells are the parts of the pancreas that make insulin. Insulin is the hormone that helps move blood sugar (glucose) into your cells to be stored or used for energy.

If your beta cells don’t work well, or if they don’t make enough insulin, too much sugar stays in your blood. Over time, this can damage your heart, blood vessels, kidneys, and nerves.


If you have any of the symptoms of type 2 diabetes, it’s important to see your doctor to get tested. Type 2 diabetes usually gets worse slowly, so you might not notice any symptoms for years. The earlier you get diagnosed, the better.

Fasting plasma glucose test

The fasting plasma glucose test is the most commonly used diagnostic test for type 2 diabetes. It measures your blood sugar after an overnight fast (not eating for 8 hours). A fasting plasma glucose level of 7.0 mmol/l (126 mg/dl) or greater, indicates diabetes.

Oral glucose tolerance test

The oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) is a test used to diagnose type 2 diabetes. It measures your body’s ability to process glucose (sugar) after you have consumed a sweetened beverage.

The OGTT is not used as often as it once was because the results are often similar to those of the fasting plasma glucose (FPG) test and the A1C test. The OGTT may be done, however, if your FPG and A1C results are normal but you have symptoms of diabetes or if you are pregnant and have risk factors for type 2 diabetes.

If you have the OGTT, you will be asked to drink a sugar-containing beverage and then have your blood sugar levels checked periodically for the next two hours. A diagnosis of diabetes may be made if your blood sugar levels are higher than normal at any point during the test.

The OGTT is not a perfect test, however, and can sometimes give false-positive or false-negative results. If you have a positive result on the OGTT, your doctor will likely confirm it with another blood test before making a diagnosis of diabetes.

A1C test

The A1C test is a blood test that provides information about your average levels of blood sugar (glucose) over the past 3 months. The A1C test can be used to diagnose type 2 diabetes and prediabetes. 1

The A1C test is also used to monitor blood sugar levels in people who have been diagnosed with diabetes. A major advantage of the A1C test is that it doesn’t require fasting.

Treatment and management

Type 2 diabetes is a chronic condition that affects the way your body metabolizes sugar. It’s typically diagnosed in adults over the age of 40, and the risk increases with age. There is no cure, but it can be managed with lifestyle changes and medication.

Lifestyle changes

Making lifestyle changes is vital for managing type 2 diabetes. Even if you have been diagnosed with diabetes, it’s never too late to make a positive change. Small changes can make a big difference and help you control your blood sugar levels.

You can manage type 2 diabetes by:
-eating healthy foods
-increasing your physical activity
-monitoring your blood sugar levels
-taking medications as prescribed

Making these lifestyle changes can be challenging. But, with support from family, friends, and your healthcare team, you can make the changes you need to improve your health.


There are a variety of diabetes medications available to manage type 2 diabetes, and they can be broadly classified into those that help the body to better use its own insulin and those that lower blood sugar levels directly.

Your doctor will take many factors into account when prescribing a medication for type 2 diabetes, including your current blood sugar level, your A1C (a measure of how well your blood sugar has been controlled over the past few months), other health conditions you have, and any medications you’re currently taking.

The most common types of diabetes medications are listed below.

Oral medications:

  • metformin (Glucophage, Glumetza)
  • thiazolidinediones (Actos, Avandia) – not available in the U.S. anymore due to safety concerns
  • sulfonylureas (glyburide [DiaBeta, Glynase PresTab, Micronase], glipizide [Glucotrol], glimepiride [Amaryl])
  • meglitinides (Prandin, Starlix) – these drugs work similarly to sulfonylureas, but their effect doesn’t last as long
  • DPP4 inhibitors (Januvia, Onglyza)
  • GLP1 agonists (Byetta, Bydureon, Victoza) – these drugs mimic the effects of a hormone called GLP1, which helps to lower blood sugar levels after eating. They’re often used in combination with metformin Insulin: If oral medications aren’t enough to manage your blood sugar levels, you may need to start taking insulin injections. Insulin is a hormone that helps the body use glucose for energy.
  • Rapid-acting insulins (Apidra, Humalog, Novolog) – these insulins start working within 15 minutes after injection and peak in about an hour. They’re usually used before meals and can be combined with long-acting insulins.
  • Short-acting insulins (Regular insulin) – this insulin starts working within 30 minutes after injection and peaks in two to three hours. It’s usually used before meals and can be combined with long-acting insulins.
  • Intermediate-acting insulins (Humulin N and Novolin N) – these insulins start working within two hours after injection and peak in four to 12 hours. They’re usually used twice a day and can be combined with rapid- or short-acting insulins.
    Long-acting insulins (Basaglar KwikPen, Lantus SoloStar Pen ,Levemir FlexPen ) – these insulins work slowly over 24 hours or longer with no pronounced peak effect. They’re usually used once a day Insulin pumps: An insulin pump is a small device that you wear that delivers insulin continuously through a small plastic tube called an infusion set into the layer of fat just beneath the skin surface 24 hours a day

    Type 2 diabetes can be treated with lifestyle changes, oral medications, and insulin. Surgery is an option for some people with type 2 diabetes.

Surgical Options

The surgical treatment of type 2 diabetes is called bariatric surgery. Bariatric surgery helps people with type 2 diabetes by:

-Reducing the size of the stomach so that people feel full sooner
-Causing changes in hormones that control blood sugar
-Reducing the absorption of sugar from food

Bariatric surgery is not a cure for type 2 diabetes, but it can help people lose weight and keep the weight off long-term. People who have bariatric surgery will need to take care of their health and make lifestyle changes, such as following a healthy diet and getting regular exercise.

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