Diabetes Home > Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 diabetes (formerly called adult-onset diabetes) occurs when blood levels of glucose are too high. Most common in people over age 40, the condition is linked to obesity, lack of activity, family history, and ethnicity. Some of the symptoms include feeling thirsty, urinating frequently, and healing slowly from cuts and bruises. Health problems that can be caused by this disease include heart disease, blindness, and even death.

What Is Type 2 Diabetes?

Type 2 diabetes is a serious disease. It happens when your blood levels of glucose, a form of sugar, are too high. Type 2 diabetes can lead to dangerous health problems. The good news is that high glucose levels can be managed to help control type 2 diabetes and prevent or delay future problems.
 

Understanding Glucose and Insulin

Our bodies change the foods we eat into glucose. Glucose travels through the bloodstream to "fuel," or feed, our cells. Insulin is a hormone that helps our bodies use glucose for energy. People with diabetes do not make insulin, do not use insulin properly, or both. This means they have too much glucose (sugar) in their blood. As a result, they often feel tired, hungry, or thirsty; they may lose weight, urinate often, or have trouble with their eyes. In time, the high levels of this form of sugar in the blood can damage their eyes, kidneys, and nerves. It can also cause heart disease, strokes, and even the need to remove all or part of a limb.
 

Risk Factors for Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 diabetes tends to run in families, but other factors can add to the risk of getting diabetes (see Diabetes Risk Factors). For example, being overweight and underactive can sometimes trigger diabetes in people who are at risk. A considerable amount of research is being done to study what causes diabetes and how to best manage this condition. While more diabetes research must be done, we do know that careful control of blood glucose, blood pressure, and cholesterol can help prevent or delay type 2 diabetes and its complications.
 
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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