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Type 2 Diabetes Overview

What is Type 2 Diabetes?

Type 2 diabetes is a common chronic metabolic disease that results in abnormally high levels of blood sugar in the blood. This blood sugar is also referred to as “glucose.”

Type 2 diabetes is the result of the body’s inability to produce and respond to the hormone insulin. When you eat, the body breaks down the food into a type of sugar called glucose, which is the main source of energy for cells. Cells rely on the hormone insulin, which is produced by the pancreas, to absorb and utilize glucose as a form of energy for muscle and other tissue.


Diabetes occurs when the body either does not produce enough insulin or the body ignores the insulin that is produced (also known as insulin resistance). Without insulin, sugar cannot get out of the blood and into the cells to be used to produce energy.

Over time, high levels of glucose damage nerves and blood vessels, leading to health complications that could include:

  • heart disease
  • stroke
  • blindness
  • kidney disease
  • nerve problems
  • amputation

Risk Factors

Nearly 24 million Americans and 385 million people worldwide have been diagnosed with diabetes, and 95 percent of those cases are type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes often occurs with age, but genetics and lifestyle factors that lead to obesity can also play a role in the development of the condition. Many of the consequences of diabetes can be avoided by healthy lifestyle habits and taking the medications prescribed for diabetes.

Content licensed from:

Written by: the Healthline Editorial Team
Medically reviewed : Jennifer Monti, MD, MPH

This feature is for informational purposes only and should not be used to replace the care and information received from your healthcare provider. Please consult a healthcare professional with any health concerns you may have.
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