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What is type 2 diabetes?
There are two major forms of diabetes - type 1 and type 2. This article focuses specifically on the prevention of type 2 diabetes. This form of diabetes is virtually a pandemic in the United States. This information reviews the risk factors for developing type 2 diabetes and reviews key points regarding prediction of those at risk for type 2 diabetes. It also is a review of what they can do about it.
While diabetes is characterized by high blood sugar values, type 2 diabetes is also associated with a condition known as insulin resistance. Even though there is an element of impaired insulin secretion from the beta cells of the pancreas, especially when toxic levels of glucose occur (when blood sugars are constantly very high), the major defect in type 2 diabetes is the body's inability to respond properly to insulin.
Eventually, even though the pancreas is working at its best to produce more and more insulin, the body tissues (for example, muscle and fat cells) do not respond and become insensitive to the insulin. At this point, overt diabetes occurs as the body is no longer able to effectively use its insulin to maintain normal blood sugar levels. Over time, these high levels of sugar result in the complications we see all too often in patients with diabetes.