Updated: Apr 11
Type 2 diabetes occurs when blood sugar levels rise and insulin resistance develops. In type 2 diabetes, the body is resistant to the effects of insulin, which means it cannot use insulin properly, so it cannot transport sugar into cells. In type 2 diabetes, the body does not properly produce or use insulin, a hormone produced by the pancreas that helps move sugar into cells.
A sugar called glucose enters the bloodstream, and in response, the pancreas releases insulin, a hormone, that helps glucose get out of the blood and into some cells so they can use it for energy. The body breaks down the sugars and starches you eat into a simple sugar called glucose, which it uses for energy. Insulin is a hormone that promotes the absorption of glucose from the blood into cells so that it can be metabolized (broken down) and used by the body as an energy source.
Insulin is a hormone that the body needs to deliver glucose from the bloodstream to the cells in our body. Blood glucose levels rise after eating and cause the pancreas to produce the hormone insulin and release it into the bloodstream. The pancreas produces the hormone insulin, and with the help of insulin, the blood carries glucose around the body for energy. This allows the glucose in our blood to enter our cells and fuel our bodies.
You need insulin to break down the glucose in food to give you energy. Insulin is a natural hormone produced by the body's pancreas to control glucose (a type of sugar) levels in the blood.
Diabetes is when your blood glucose levels are too high because your body doesn't have enough insulin or it resists the effects of insulin. As a result, blood glucose levels rise, and when they get too high, it can cause diabetes or pre-diabetes. People with insulin resistance or type 2 diabetes are also more likely to develop hypertension (high blood pressure) or abnormal levels of blood fats (cholesterol and triglycerides). Some people with type 2 diabetes actually have “insulin resistance,” which means the pancreas produces insulin but the body doesn’t recognize it (“insulin resistance is different from type 1 diabetes, in which the immune system attacks cells that produce insulin).
In type 2 diabetes, cells do not respond appropriately to insulin (insulin resistance), and the pancreas does not produce enough insulin to meet the body's needs. In some people with type 2 diabetes, this eventually tires the pancreas, which means their bodies are producing less and less insulin. Although the body produces some insulin, it is not enough to overcome this resistance. During insulin resistance, your body can no longer respond effectively to insulin, preventing it from fully absorbing and using the sugar in the food you eat for energy.
The more overweight you are, the more resistant your muscle and tissue cells become to your own hormone, insulin. When a person predisposed to diabetes gains excess weight, the body's cells become less sensitive to the insulin produced by the pancreas.
Over time, the body's cells become less and less sensitive to insulin (increased insulin resistance) and the pancreatic beta cells produce less and less insulin (called beta cell burn). Your beta cells become damaged and die, and your body can no longer produce enough insulin, leading to hyperglycemia (high blood sugar). In this case, insulin does not tell cells to take up glucose from the blood, which means that blood sugar levels rise (this is called hyperglycemia).
Only when enough insulin-producing cells are affected and insulin levels are low will blood sugar rise and symptoms of diabetes begin to appear. In many people with long-term type 2 diabetes, beta-cell damage progresses to the point where they can never produce enough insulin to properly control blood sugar levels, even with sudden weight loss.
Type 2 diabetes (formerly known as adult-onset diabetes or non-insulin-dependent diabetes) can be a lifelong chronic disease in which the body does not produce enough insulin or the body's cells do not respond appropriately to insulin. Type 2 diabetes, formerly known as non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM), is a chronic metabolic disease that occurs when the body does not produce enough insulin or does not use insulin properly. As more children are diagnosed with diabetes and insulin is increasingly used to treat type 2 diabetes, defining the condition as "adult-onset" or "insulin-independent" is not more accurate or used.
Many overweight people never get type 2, and some people with type 2 have never been overweight (although obesity is likely the main cause of insulin resistance). In type 2, your pancreas does not produce enough insulin, and the insulin it produces does not always work properly. Type 2 often begins with insulin resistance, which means that the liver, muscles, adipose (fat), and other cells begin to respond to insulin more slowly or weakly than a person's liver. In type 1 diabetes, the immune system destroys the cells that release insulin, which ultimately leads to a complete inability to produce insulin in the body.
In people with type 2 diabetes who exercise, the severity of insulin resistance appears to decrease because the muscles they exercise use up excess blood sugar; therefore, the body does not produce insulin, and sugar is no longer directed to excess fat cells.
Children during puberty are more prone to type 2 diabetes than younger children, possibly due to the normal rise in hormone levels that can cause insulin resistance during this phase of rapid growth and physical development.
FAQs About Type 2 Diabetes
Q: What is the difference between type 1 and type 2 diabetes?
There are differences between type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes. Type 1 diabetes has been called juvenile diabetes because it tends to develop during childhood due to damage to the pancreas that produces little or no insulin. In contrast, type 2 diabetes has been called adult diabetes because it tends to be diagnosed later in life. In type 2 diabetes, it becomes increasingly difficult for the body to absorb and use the insulin produced by the pancreas.
Q: What is more common?
Type 1 diabetes or type 2 diabetes? Type 2 diabetes accounts for about 90% of all cases of diabetes, making it much more common than type 1 diabetes. Diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death in the United States in 2013, with 75,578 death certificates listing it as the leading cause. Cause of death, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
Q: What is the best predictor of type 2 diabetes?
The best predictor or most important risk factor for type 2 diabetes is being overweight or obese. Nearly 90 percent of people with type 2 diabetes are overweight or obese, putting additional stress on their body's ability to use insulin to effectively control blood sugar (glucose) levels. Other risk factors for type 2 diabetes include age, ethnicity, pregnancy, stress, certain medications, genetic or family history, and high cholesterol.
Q. Is type 2 diabetes completely preventable?
In general, type 2 diabetes is preventable. Only 5-10% weight loss combined with lifestyle changes such as exercise can prevent or delay the development of type 2 diabetes in individuals at risk. Studies have shown that diet and moderate physical activity (for example, walking for a total of 150 minutes a week - about 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week) can reduce weight and reduce the development of diabetes by 40-60%. The best way to prevent type 2 diabetes is to maintain a healthy weight, increase activity, and lose weight if you are overweight.