Conditions InDepth: Type 2 Diabetes
Insulin is a hormone normally produced by the pancreas. This hormone helps your body convert food into energy. Without insulin, glucose (sugar) from the food you eat cannot enter cells, and glucose builds up in the blood. Your body tissues become starved for energy.
How Type 2 Diabetes Occurs
Type 2 diabetes, which was formerly called adult-onset diabetes or noninsulin-dependent diabetes, is the most common form of diabetes. Of the nearly 23.6 million Americans with diabetes, 90%-95% have type 2 diabetes. People usually develop type 2 diabetes after age 45, but it can occur at any age—even during childhood.
In recent years, there has been an increase in the number of cases of type 2 diabetes diagnosed in children and adolescents. This has been blamed, in part, on the increase in childhood
Type 2 diabetes occurs because either one or both of the following conditions exist:
- Beta cells in the pancreas do not make enough insulin relative to the demands of the body
- Fat, muscle, or liver cells do not respond to the high levels of insulin (called insulin resistance)
Being overweight or obese is the primary cause of insulin resistance, and it increases the chance of developing type 2 diabetes.
The key to minimizing complications is keeping your blood sugar level within a healthy range. When your blood sugar level is not within the ideal range, you can experience the following problems:
In the short-term:
- High blood sugar (hyperglycemia)
- Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia)
- In the long-term:
American Diabetes Association website. Available at: http://www.diabetes.org . Accessed February 11, 2010.
National diabetes statistics, 2007. National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse website. Available at: http://diabetes.niddk.nih.gov/DM/PUBS/statistics/ . Published June 2008. Accessed February 11, 2010.
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. National Institutes of Health website. Available at: http://www.niddk.nih.gov/ . Accessed February 11, 2010.
Rosenbloom AL, Silverstein JH, Amemiya S, et al. ISPAD clinical practice consensus guideline 2006-2007. Type 2 diabetes mellitus in the child and adolescent. Pediatr Diabetes. 2008;9:512-526.
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US Preventive Services Task Force. Screening for type 2 diabetes mellitus in adults. Ann Intern Med. 2008;148:846-54.
Last reviewed February 2010 by
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