Type 2 Diabetes

Medical Author:
Medical Editor:

Type 2 diabetes facts

Reader Stories
  • Type 2 diabetes is a condition in which cells cannot use blood sugar (glucose) efficiently for energy. This happens when blood sugar gets too high over time, and the cells become insensitive to insulin.
  • There are two types of diabetes mellitus, type 1 and type 2. The difference between the two are in type 2 diabetes, the pancreas still makes insulin, but the cells cannot use it very efficiently. In type 1 diabetes, the pancreas cannot make insulin due to auto-immune destruction of the insulin-producing beta cells.
  • Causes of type 2 diabetes are
  • Risk factors for type 2 diabetes include
    • having family members with diabetes,
    • being overweight,
    • being sedentary including watching more than 2 hours of TV per day,
    • drinking soda, and
    • consuming too much sugar and processed food.
  • Because symptoms of type 2 diabetes are sometimes subtle. The major symptom is often being overweight. Other symptoms include
    • excess thirst,
    • urinating a lot,
    • gaining or losing weight unintentionally,
    • dark skin under armpits, chin, or groin,
    • fatigue, and
    • unusual odor to urine.
  • Often there are no specific symptoms until blood tests are done
  • Type 2 diabetes is diagnosed by a blood test for blood sugar. In type 2 diabetes a blood sugar level more than 125 when fasting or more than 200 randomly is diagnostic for diabetes.
  • Type 2 diabetes is treated with diet and lifestyle changes such as cutting out certain foods like sugar, bread, and pasta. It is also treated with a number of medications. Metformin (Glucophage) is usually the first medication to be tried.
  • Complications of type 2 diabetes include
  • Type 2 diabetes can be prevented by
    • following a healthy low glycemic load diet,
    • staying physically active, and
    • getting regular medical screenings.
  • The prognosis for a person with type 2 diabetes is estimated to be a life expectancy of 10 years less. However, good blood sugar control and taking steps to prevent complications is shortening this gap and people with type 2 diabetes are living longer.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 6/24/2015

Patient Comments

Viewers share their comments

Type 2 Diabetes - Experience Question: Please share your experience with type 2 diabetes.
Type 2 Diabetes - Causes Question: If known, what caused your type 2 diabetes?
Type 2 Diabetes - Symptoms Question: What symptoms did you have before you were diagnosed with type 2 diabetes?
Type 2 Diabetes - Medications Question: What medications do you take for type 2 diabetes and have they been effective in managing the disease?
Type 2 Diabetes - Diet Question: What foods have you found helpful in managing your type 2 diabetes?

Early Symptoms of Diabetes

Symptoms of diabetes can be similar in type 1 diabetes, typically diagnosed in children and teens, and type 2 diabetes, which most often occurs in adults. Early symptoms of any type of diabetes are related to high blood and urine glucose levels and include

  • the increased need to urinate,
  • an increase in thirst,
  • dehydration, and
  • hunger.