Diabetes happens when the body does not make enough insulin to move glucose from the blood to the cells. This causes glucose to build up in the blood instead of being used by the cells for energy. Type 2 is more common in adults.
Type 2 happens when the body becomes resistant to insulin or when the pancreas cannot make enough. This may be due to a person's genes and habits.
Type 2 is more common in people with obesity and those over 45 years of age. People who are American Indian, Alaska natives, Black, and Hispanic are at higher risk. Some other common risks are:
Most people do not have problems right away. Others may have:
The doctor will ask about symptoms and past health. A physical exam will be done. Diabetes is diagnosed with blood tests that check for high glucose levels. More than 1 test may be done.
These blood tests will also be done to find out whether it is type 1 or type 2:
The goal is to keep glucose levels at close to normal levels. This can be done with:
Healthy habits can help manage type 2, such as:
Some people may need medicine to lower insulin resistance. There are many types. Metformin is a common medicine that is given.
People who cannot manage type 2 with healthy habits and medicine may need insulin. It will replace the insulin hormone that their body does not make. It can be given by injection, inhaler, or by a pump that gives it in small amounts during the day.
A person may not be able to lower the risk of diabetes. Healthy habits may help, such as exercising, staying at a healthy weight, and eating right.
American Diabetes Association
National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse
Canadian Diabetes Association
Public Health Agency of Canada
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Last reviewed September 2020 by
EBSCO Medical Review Board
Daniel A. Ostrovsky, MD
Last Updated: 07/28/2020