Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2
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
- kidney disease
- nerve problems
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.
Written by: the Healthline Editorial Team
Medically reviewed by Jennifer Monti, MD, MPH