Insulin is a hormone normally produced by the pancreas. Insulin helps your body convert food into energy. Without insulin, glucose (sugar) from food cannot enter cells, and glucose builds up in the blood. Your body tissues become starved for energy.
Type 2 diabetes is primarily a disorder in which the cells are not responding to the high levels of insulin circulating in the body. The body becomes increasingly resistant to insulin. As type 2 diabetes progresses, the over-worked beta cells of the pancreas start to make less insulin.
How Type 2 Diabetes Occurs
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Type 2 diabetes occurs because either one or both of the following conditions exist:
People older than age 45 years are at higher risk of developing this condition, but it can occur at any age—even during childhood. Excess weight and obesity is the primary cause of insulin resistance, and it increases the chance of developing type 2 diabetes.
If diabetes is left untreated, serious health complications can occur. These complications affect the eyes, heart, kidneys, blood and nerve supply, and immune system.
Diabetes mellitus type 2 in adults. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T113993/Diabetes-mellitus-type-2-in-adults. Updated August 29, 2016. Accessed October 6, 2016.
Type 2. American Diabetes Association website. Available at:
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Accessed August 22, 2016.
Last reviewed September 2016 by Kim Carmichael, MD
Last Updated: 8/22/2016