Medical Definition of Diabetes, type 2

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Diabetes, type 2: One of the two major types of diabetes, the type in which the beta cells of the pancreas produce insulin but the body is unable to use it effectively because the cells of the body are resistant to the action of insulin. Although this type of diabetes may not carry the same risk of death from ketoacidosis, it otherwise involves many of the same risks of complications as does type 1 diabetes (in which there is a lack of insulin).

The aim of treatment is to normalize the blood glucose in an attempt to prevent or minimize complications. People with type 2 diabetes may experience marked hyperglycemia, but many do not require insulin injections and can be treated with diet, exercise, and oral hypoglycemic agents (drugs taken by mouth to lower the blood sugar).

Type 2 diabetes requires good dietary control including the restriction of calories, lowered consumption of simple carbohydrates and fat with increased consumption of complex carbohydrates and fiber. Regular aerobic exercise is also an important method for treating both type 2 diabetes since it decreases insulin resistance and helps burn excessive glucose. Regular exercise also may help lower blood lipids and reduce some effects of stress, both important factors in treating diabetes and preventing complications.

Type 2 diabetes is also known as insulin-resistant diabetes, non-insulin dependent diabetes, and adult-onset diabetes.

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Last Editorial Review: 1/25/2017

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