Type 2 diabetes, (adult-onset or noninsulin-dependent diabetes), is a chronic condition that affects the way the body metabolizes glucose, the body's important source of energy. The body in this case either resists the effects of insulin, a hormone that regulates the movement of sugar into the cells, or doesn't produce enough insulin to maintain a normal glucose level. Symptoms often develop slowly and a person can have type 2 diabetes for years and not know it.

Type 2 diabetes increasingly affects children with the increase of childhood obesity.

There's no cure for type 2 diabetes, but you may be able to manage the condition by eating well, exercising and maintaining a healthy weight. If diet and exercise are not enough to manage the blood sugar well, you also may need diabetes medications or insulin therapy.


Typical symptoms are:

  • Increased thirst and frequent urination.
  • Increased hunger.
  • Weight loss.
  • Fatigue.
  • Blurred vision.
  • Slow-healing sores or frequent infections.
  • Areas of darkened skin.


Type 2 diabetes develops when the body becomes resistant to insulin or when the pancreas stops producing enough insulin. Exactly why this happens is unknown, although genetics and environmental factors, such as excess weight and inactivity, seem to be contributing factors.

Insulin is a hormone that comes from the gland situated behind and below the stomach (pancreas). The process is as follows: the pancreas secretes insulin into the bloodstream, the insulin circulates enabling sugar to enter the cells, insulin lowers the amount of sugar in the bloodstream and as the blood sugar level drops, so does the secretion of insulin from the pancreas.

Glucose (sugar) is a main source of energy for the cells that make up muscles and other tissues. This is the process: glucose comes from two major sources: food and the liver,  sugar is absorbed into the bloodstream, where it enters cells with the help of insulin, and the liver stores and makes glucose and when the glucose levels are low, such as when you haven't eaten in a while, the liver breaks down stored glycogen into glucose to keep the glucose level within a normal range.

In type 2 diabetes, this process doesn't work well. Instead of moving into the cells, sugar builds up in the bloodstream. As blood sugar levels increase, the insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas produce more insulin, but eventually these cells become impaired and can't make enough insulin to meet the body's demands.

Risk Factors

The reason why people develop type 2 diabetes and others don't is unknown.  Certain factors, however increase the risk, including:

  • Weight.
  • Fat distribution.
  • Inactivity.
  • Family history.
  • Race.
  • Age.
  • Prediabetes.
  • Gestational diabetes.
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome.


Type 2 diabetes can be easy to ignore, especially in the early stages when the person is feeling fine. But diabetes affects many major organs, including the heart, blood vessels, nerves, eyes and kidneys. Controlling the blood sugar levels can help prevent these complications.

Although long-term complications of diabetes develop gradually, they can eventually be disabling or even life-threatening. Some of the potential complications of diabetes include:

  • Heart and blood vessel disease.
  • Nerve damage (neuropathy).
  • Kidney damage (nephropathy).
  • Eye damage.
  • Foot damage.
  • Hearing impairment.
  • Skin conditions.
  • Alzheimer's disease.


Healthy lifestyle choices can help you prevent type 2 diabetes. Even if you have diabetes in the family, diet and exercise can help you prevent the disease. If you've already received a diagnosis of diabetes, you can use healthy lifestyle choices to help prevent complications. And if you have prediabetes, lifestyle changes can slow or halt the progression from prediabetes to diabetes.

  • Eat healthy foods.
  • Get physical.
  • Lose excess pounds.