Type 2 diabetes occurs when the pancreas does not make enough insulin or the body does not use insulin properly. It usually occurs in adults, although in some cases children may be affected. People with type 2 diabetes usually have a family history of this condition and 90% are overweight or obese. People with type 2 diabetes may eventually need insulin injections. This condition occurs most commonly in people of Indigenous and African descent, Hispanics, and Asians.
How does high blood sugar (hyperglycemia) feel? To maintain the right amount of blood sugar, the body needs insulin, a hormone that delivers this sugar to the cells. When insulin is lacking, blood sugar builds up. We describe symptoms of high blood sugar, including fatigue, weight loss, and frequent urination. Learn who is at risk and when to see a doctor here. Read now
Diabetes can be hard enough as it is, so do what you can to make life with it less complicated. For example, you don't have to be a master chef to put together a healthy meal. You can use ingredients that are right in your home. If you find your medication regimen to be too complex or too expensive, request that your physician change it. If you continue to forget to take your medicines, find simple ways to help you take them, like setting a reminder on your cell phone.
Type 2 diabetes (formerly named non-insulin-dependent) which results from the body's inability to respond properly to the action of insulin produced by the pancreas. Type 2 diabetes is much more common and accounts for around 90% of all diabetes cases worldwide. It occurs most frequently in adults, but is being noted increasingly in adolescents as well.
There are many types of sugar. Some sugars are simple, and others are complex. Table sugar (sucrose) is made of two simpler sugars called glucose and fructose. Milk sugar (lactose) is made of glucose and a simple sugar called galactose. The carbohydrates in starches, such as bread, pasta, rice, and similar foods, are long chains of different simple sugar molecules. Sucrose, lactose, carbohydrates, and other complex sugars must be broken down into simple sugars by enzymes in the digestive tract before the body can absorb them.
Insulin is the hormone responsible for reducing blood sugar. In order for insulin to work, our tissues have to be sensitive to its action; otherwise, tissues become resistant and insulin struggles to clear out sugar from the blood. As insulin resistance sets in, the first organ to stop responding to insulin is the liver, followed by the muscles and eventually fat. How does insulin resistance begin? The root of the problem is our diet.
Acute Coronary Syndrome Moderate Risk Acute Coronary Syndrome Management Low Risk Acute Coronary Syndrome Management Myocardial Infarction Stabilization Post Myocardial Infarction Medications Cardiac Rehabilitation Angina Pectoris Heart Failure Causes NYHA Heart Failure Classification Diastolic Heart Failure Systolic Dysfunction Atrial Fibrillation Acute Management Atrial Fibrillation Anticoagulation Coronary Artery Disease Prevention in Diabetes Hypertension in Diabetes Mellitus CHAD Score Hypertension in the Elderly Isolated Systolic Hypertension Hypertension Criteria Hypertension Evaluation History Hypertension Management Hypertension Risk Stratification Resistant Hypertension Hypertension Management for Specific Comorbid Diseases Hypertension Management for Specific Emergencies Bacterial Endocarditis HDL Cholesterol LDL Cholesterol Triglyceride VLDL Cholesterol Hypercholesterolemia Hypertriglyceridemia AntiHyperlipidemic Hypertensive Disorders of Pregnancy Preeclampsia Prevention Congenital Heart Disease Hypertension in Children Medication Causes of Hypertension ACE Inhibitor Angiotensin 2 Receptor Blocking Agent Dihydropyridine Calcium Channel Blocker Nifedipine Selective Aldosterone Receptor Antagonist Niacin HMG-CoA Reductase Inhibitor Cardiac Risk Cardiac Risk Management Exercise Stress Test Stress Myocardial Perfusion Imaging Preoperative Cardiovascular Evaluation Eagle's Cardiac Risk Assessment Revised Cardiac Risk Index ACC-AHA Preoperative Cardiac Risk Assessment ACP Preoperative Cardiac Risk Assessment Syncope Subclavian Steal Syndrome Periodontitis Oral Health Cellulitis Necrotizing Soft Tissue Infection Group A Streptococcal Cellulitis Vibrio Cellulitis Gram-Negative Toe Web Infection Impetigo Skin Infections in Diabetes Mellitus Erythralgia Blister Skin Ulcer Cutaneous Candidiasis Onychomycosis Alopecia Areata Skin Abscess Skin Infection Intertrigo Nail Discoloration Terry's Nail Ingrown Toenail Hyperpigmentation Carotenemia Incision and Drainage Cryotherapy Skin Conditions in Diabetes Mellitus Acanthosis Nigricans Diabetic Dermopathy Granuloma Annulare Necrobiosis Lipoidica Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus Metabolic Syndrome Diabetes Mellitus Complications Diabetic Ketoacidosis Diabetic Ketoacidosis Management in Adults Diabetic Ketoacidosis Management in Children Hyperosmolar Hyperglycemic State Diabetic Education Diabetes Mellitus Glucose Management Diabetes Mellitus Control in Hospital Diabetes Resources Diabetic Retinopathy Unintentional Weight Loss Unintentional Weight Loss Causes Hypoglycemia Serum Glucose Glucose Challenge Test Glucose Tolerance Test 2 hour Hemoglobin A1C Sex Hormone Binding Globulin Endocrinology Links Diabetic Neuropathy Neonatal Hypoglycemia Obesity Risk Gestational Diabetes Gestational Diabetes Management Gestational Diabetes Perinatal Mortality Diabetes Mellitus Preconception Counseling Obesity in Children Systemic Corticosteroid Medication Causes of Hyperglycemia GlucoWatch Biographer Symlin Inhaled Insulin Somogyi Phenomena Glucophage Human Growth Hormone Orlistat Diabetic Foot Care Nutrition in Diabetes Mellitus Type 2 Diabetic Nephropathy Klinefelter Syndrome Hypogonadotropic Hypogonadism Pubertal Delay Exercise in Diabetes Mellitus Perioperative Diabetes Management Obesity Surgery Night Sweats Acute Otitis Externa Bacterial Otitis Externa Necrotizing Otitis Externa Hearing Loss Sensorineural Hearing Loss Vocal Cord Paralysis Thrush Manual Cerumen Removal Sinus XRay Acute Suppurative Sialoadenitis Rhinosinusitis Tinnitus Burning Mouth Syndrome Taste Dysfunction Loss of Smell Dry Mouth Salivary Gland Enlargement Tongue Pain Dysequilibrium Atrophic Glossitis Animal Bite Infected Animal Bite Human Bite Heat Illness Risk Factors Burn Management Trauma in Pregnancy Bacterial Conjunctivitis Central Retinal Artery Occlusion Open Angle Glaucoma Cataract Ischemic Optic Neuritis Vitreous Hemorrhage Laser In-Situ Keratomileusis Floaters Light Flashes Acute Vision Loss Health Concerns in the Elderly Infections in Older Adults Medication Use in the Elderly Failure to Thrive in the Elderly Fall Prevention in the Elderly Irritable Bowel Syndrome Constipation Causes Chronic Diarrhea Traveler's Diarrhea Esophageal Dysmotility Gastroesophageal Reflux Hemochromatosis Pancreatic Cancer Hepatitis C Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Serum Angiotensin Converting Enzyme Liver Function Test Abnormality Lactase Deficiency Acute Pancreatitis Chronic Pancreatitis Osmotic Laxative Hepatotoxic Medication Traveler's Diarrhea Prophylaxis Pruritus Ani Perirectal Abscess Gastroparesis Whipple Procedure Upper Gastrointestinal Bleeding Dyspepsia Causes Nausea Causes Contraception HAIR-AN Syndrome Polycystic Ovary Disease Menopause Endometrial Cancer Risk Factor Candida Vulvovaginitis Anovulatory Bleeding Oral Contraceptive Female Sexual Dysfunction Cancer Survivor Care Serum Protein Electrophoresis Perioperative Anticoagulation Cardiovascular Manifestations of HIV HIV Presentation Hepatitis in HIV HIV Related Neuropathy Stavudine Emerging Infection Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus Fever of Unknown Origin Candidiasis Neutropenic Fever Hepatitis B Vaccine Influenza Vaccine Postherpetic Neuralgia Fluoroquinolone Third Generation Fluoroquinolone Sulfonamide Travel Preparation Travel Immunization Influenza Dengue Legionella Acute Exacerbation of Chronic Bronchitis Pneumonia in the Elderly Pneumonia Churg-Strauss Syndrome Tuberculin Skin Test Cystic Fibrosis Isoniazid Lung Transplantation in Cystic Fibrosis Active Tuberculosis Treatment Medical Literature Autonomic Dysfunction Bell's Palsy Facial Nerve Paralysis Causes Dementia Agitation in Dementia Ischemic Stroke Stroke Pathophysiology CVA Management Multiple Sclerosis Down Syndrome Cranial Nerve 3 Coma Exam Hemiplegia Giant Cell Arteritis Spinal Headache CSF Protein Altered Level of Consciousness Causes Guillain Barre Syndrome Restless Leg Syndrome Triptan Prevention of Ischemic Stroke Nerve Conduction Velocity Paresthesia Causes Peripheral Neuropathy Asymmetric Peripheral Neuropathy Peripheral Neuropathy Tremor Neonatal Distress Causes Newborn History Newborn Exam Neonatal Jaundice Causes Respiratory Distress Syndrome in the Newborn Late Pregnancy Loss Preterm Labor First Trimester Bleeding Fetal Macrosomia Hyperemesis Gravidarum Medications in Pregnancy Ritodrine Terbutaline Pregnancy Risk Assessment Probe-to-Bone Test Shoulder History Dupuytren's Disease Septic Bursitis Spinal Infection Osteomyelitis Causes Vertebral Osteomyelitis Patellar Tendinopathy Meralgia Paresthetica Frozen Shoulder Exertional Compartment Syndrome Hip Pain Low Back Pain Red Flag Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Adolescent Health Bullying Ephedrine Ginseng Myoinositol Nonsteroidal Anti-inflammatory Lab Markers of Malnutrition Nutrition Guidelines Glycemic Index Non-nutritive Sweetener Conenzyme Q10 Mortality Statistics Adult Health Maintenance Screening DOT Examination Family History Refugee Health Exam Automobile Safety Substance Abuse Evaluation Alcohol Detoxification in Ambulatory Setting Major Depression Major Depression Differential Diagnosis Anorexia Nervosa Antabuse Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor Antipsychotic Medication Clozapine Olanzapine Psychosis Insomnia Causes Renal Artery Stenosis Idiopathic Cyclic Edema Acute Kidney Injury Risk Chronic Renal Failure Acute Glomerulonephritis Nephrotic Syndrome Serum Osmolality Hypomagnesemia Drug Dosing in Chronic Kidney Disease Hyperkalemia due to Medications Hyperkalemia Causes Prevention of Kidney Disease Progression Intravenous Contrast Related Acute Renal Failure Osteoporosis Evaluation Antiphospholipid Antibody Syndrome Systemic Lupus Erythematosus Polymyositis Differential Diagnosis Septic Joint Gouty Arthritis Fibromyalgia Charcot's Joint Charcot Foot Complex Regional Pain Syndrome Osteoarthritis Methotrexate Joint Injection Rheumatoid Arthritis Fatigue Causes Impairment Evaluation Pre-participation History Exercise Exercise in the Elderly Walking Program Scuba Diving Procedural Sedation and Analgesia Peripheral Arterial Occlusive Disease Peripheral Vascular Disease Management Venous Insufficiency Wound Decubitus Ulcer Foot Wound Leg Ulcer Causes Wound Repair Fishhook Removal Ankle-Brachial Index Preoperative Examination Gallstone Acalculous Cholecystitis Cholecystectomy Small Bowel Obstruction Bowel Pseudoobstruction Abdominal Muscle Wall Pain Abdominal Wall Pain Causes Hydrocolloid Dressing Suture Material Surgical Antibiotic Prophylaxis Male Infertility Testicular Failure Bladder Cancer Urinary Tract Infection Recurrent Cystitis Acute Bacterial Prostatitis Acute Pyelonephritis Erectile Dysfunction Erectile Dysfunction Causes Erectile Dysfunction Management Urinary Incontinence Overflow Incontinence Urine pH Urine Specific Gravity Enuresis Proteinuria in Children Balanitis Peyronie's Disease Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia Vasectomy Counseling Proteinuria Causes Targeted Cancer Therapy Acute Paronychia Chronic Paronychia Urinary Retention Decreased Visual Acuity Gastrointestinal Manifestations of Diabetes Mellitus Shoulder Osteoarthritis Vitiligo Cardiomyopathy Heart Transplant Contraceptive Selection in Diabetes Mellitus Periodontal Bleeding Perioperative Antiplatelet Therapy Charlson Comorbidity Index Constipation Causes in the Elderly Chronic Osteomyelitis Abnormal Gait and Balance Causes in the Elderly Calcium Channel Blocker Overdose Diverticular Bleeding Framingham Cardiac Risk Scale Cardiac Risk in Diabetes Score Outpatient Bleeding Risk Index Four Year Prognostic Index Diabetes Screening ABCD2 Score Urine Microalbumin Hearing Loss in Older Adults Preoperative Guidelines for Medications Prior to Surgery Contrast-Induced Nephropathy Risk Score Hyperlipidemia in Diabetes Mellitus Diamond and Forrester Chest Pain Prediction Rule Coronary Risk Stratification of Chest Pain Diabetes Sick Day Management Urinary Tract Infection in Geriatric Patients Insulinlike Growth Factor 1 Avascular Necrosis of the Femoral Head Family Practice Notebook Updates 2014 Emergency Care in ESRD Medication Compliance Slit Lamp Sulfonamide Allergy Health Care of the Homeless CHADS2-VASc Score Tuberculosis Risk Factors for progression from Latent to Active Disease Family Practice Notebook Updates 2015 Wound Infection Asymptomatic Bacteriuria Toxic Shock Syndrome Tetanus ASA Physical Status Classification System Family Practice Notebook Updates 2016 Solid Organ Transplant Calcineurin Inhibitor Cardiac Pacemaker Infection DAPT Score Acute Maculopathy Medication Causes of Delirium in the Elderly Family Practice Notebook Updates 2017 Major Bleeding Risk With Anticoagulants Severe Asymptomatic Hypertension Chronic Wound Family Practice Notebook Updates Stable Coronary Artery Disease Nocturia Polyuria Hyperhidrosis Causes Pneumaturia Anemia in Older Adults Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus in Children
Type 2 diabetes is often treated with oral medication because many people with this type of diabetes make some insulin on their own. The pills people take to control type 2 diabetes do not contain insulin. Instead, medications such as metformin, sulfonylureas, alpha-glucosidase inhibitors and many others are used to make the insulin that the body still produces more effective.
The problem with sugar, regardless of type, is the sheer amount of it that’s found in the Standard American Diet (SAD), which is the typical eating plan many people in the United States — as well as those in an increasing number of modernized countries — have developed a taste for. When consumed in excess, foods in this category can lead to heart disease, stroke, and other serious health issues. “Often, foods with added sugar also contain fat,” explains Grieger, noting that these components go hand in hand when it comes to the risk for insulin resistance, the hallmark of type 2 diabetes.
High blood sugar levels (hyperglycemia) can lead to a condition called glucose toxicity. This leads to further damage to the pancreas, and the body is less able to produce insulin. Without insulin, glucose levels continue to rise to levels that can cause damage to organs such as the eyes, nerves, and kidneys. These problems are similar to the complications associated with type 1 diabetes.
Patients who suffer from diabetes have a lifelong struggle to attain and maintain blood glucose levels as close to the normal range as possible. With appropriate blood sugar control, the risk of both microvascular (small blood vessel) and neuropathic (nerve) complications is decreased markedly. Additionally, if hypertension (high blood pressure) and hyperlipidemia (high cholesterol) are treated promptly and aggressively, the risk of cardiovascular complications should decrease as well.
At present, the American Diabetes Association does not recommend general screening of the population for type 1 diabetes, though screening of high risk individuals, such as those with a first degree relative (sibling or parent) with type 1 diabetes should be encouraged. Type 1 diabetes tends to occur in young, lean individuals, usually before 30 years of age; however, older patients do present with this form of diabetes on occasion. This subgroup is referred to as latent autoimmune diabetes in adults (LADA). LADA is a slow, progressive form of type 1 diabetes. Of all the people with diabetes, only approximately 10% have type 1 diabetes and the remaining 90% have type 2 diabetes.
Blood glucose levels: persistently elevated blood sugar levels are diagnostic of diabetes mellitus. A specific test called a glucose tolerance test (GTT) may be performed. For this you need to be fasted and will be given a sugary drink. Your glucose level will then be measured at one and two hours after the doseto determine how welll your body copes with glucose.
Dr. Charles "Pat" Davis, MD, PhD, is a board certified Emergency Medicine doctor who currently practices as a consultant and staff member for hospitals. He has a PhD in Microbiology (UT at Austin), and the MD (Univ. Texas Medical Branch, Galveston). He is a Clinical Professor (retired) in the Division of Emergency Medicine, UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, and has been the Chief of Emergency Medicine at UT Medical Branch and at UTHSCSA with over 250 publications.
The glucose level at which symptoms develop varies greatly from individual to individual (and from time to time in the same individual), depending in part on the duration of diabetes, the frequency of hypoglycemic episodes, the rate of fall of glycemia, and overall control. (Glucose is also the sole energy source for erythrocytes and the kidney medulla.)
Glycated hemoglobin (A1C) test. This blood test indicates your average blood sugar level for the past two to three months. It measures the percentage of blood sugar attached to hemoglobin, the oxygen-carrying protein in red blood cells. The higher your blood sugar levels, the more hemoglobin you'll have with sugar attached. An A1C level of 6.5 percent or higher on two separate tests indicates you have diabetes. A result between 5.7 and 6.4 percent is considered prediabetes, which indicates a high risk of developing diabetes. Normal levels are below 5.7 percent.
Recently, battery-operated insulin pumps have been developed that can be programmed to mimic normal insulin secretion more closely. A person wearing an insulin pump still must monitor blood sugar several times a day and adjust the dosage, and not all diabetic patients are motivated or suited to such vigilance. It is hoped that in the future an implantable or external pump system may be perfected, containing a glucose sensor. In response to data from the sensor the pump will automatically deliver insulin according to changing levels of blood glucose.
A study by Mayer-Davis et al indicated that between 2002 and 2012, the incidence of type 1 and type 2 diabetes mellitus saw a significant rise among youths in the United States. According to the report, after the figures were adjusted for age, sex, and race or ethnic group, the incidence of type 1 (in patients aged 0-19 years) and type 2 diabetes mellitus (in patients aged 10-19 years) during this period underwent a relative annual increase of 1.8% and 4.8%, respectively. The greatest increases occurred among minority youths. [29]
Screening for undiagnosed T2DM is recommended at the first prenatal visit in women with above risk factors, using standard diagnostic method criteria. Screening for gestational diabetes (GDM) at 24-28 wk of gestation is recommended in women who do not have previous history of diabetes, as GDM remains asymptomatic11. A history of GDM carries a high risk for developing diabetes.
In addition to the problems with an increase in insulin resistance, the release of insulin by the pancreas may also be defective and suboptimal. In fact, there is a known steady decline in beta cell production of insulin in type 2 diabetes that contributes to worsening glucose control. (This is a major factor for many patients with type 2 diabetes who ultimately require insulin therapy.) Finally, the liver in these patients continues to produce glucose through a process called gluconeogenesis despite elevated glucose levels. The control of gluconeogenesis becomes compromised.
Normally, blood glucose levels are tightly controlled by insulin, a hormone produced by the pancreas. Insulin lowers the blood glucose level. When the blood glucose elevates (for example, after eating food), insulin is released from the pancreas to normalize the glucose level by promoting the uptake of glucose into body cells. In patients with diabetes, the absence of insufficient production of or lack of response to insulin causes hyperglycemia. Diabetes is a chronic medical condition, meaning that although it can be controlled, it lasts a lifetime.
Studies in type 1 patients have shown that in intensively treated patients, diabetic eye disease decreased by 76%, kidney disease decreased by 54%, and nerve disease decreased by 60%. More recently the EDIC trial has shown that type 1 diabetes is also associated with increased heart disease, similar to type 2 diabetes. However, the price for aggressive blood sugar control is a two to three fold increase in the incidence of abnormally low blood sugar levels (caused by the diabetes medications). For this reason, tight control of diabetes to achieve glucose levels between 70 to120 mg/dl is not recommended for children under 13 years of age, patients with severe recurrent hypoglycemia, patients unaware of their hypoglycemia, and patients with far advanced diabetes complications. To achieve optimal glucose control without an undue risk of abnormally lowering blood sugar levels, patients with type 1 diabetes must monitor their blood glucose at least four times a day and administer insulin at least three times per day. In patients with type 2 diabetes, aggressive blood sugar control has similar beneficial effects on the eyes, kidneys, nerves and blood vessels.
People who are obese -- more than 20% over their ideal body weight for their height -- are at particularly high risk of developing type 2 diabetes and its related medical problems. Obese people have insulin resistance. With insulin resistance, the pancreas has to work overly hard to produce more insulin. But even then, there is not enough insulin to keep sugars normal.

If you have type 2 diabetes and your body mass index (BMI) is greater than 35, you may be a candidate for weight-loss surgery (bariatric surgery). Blood sugar levels return to normal in 55 to 95 percent of people with diabetes, depending on the procedure performed. Surgeries that bypass a portion of the small intestine have more of an effect on blood sugar levels than do other weight-loss surgeries.


Aspirin should be used as secondary prophylaxis in all diabetic people with evidence of macrovascular disease, and it should be strongly considered as primary prevention in diabetic subjects with other risk factors for macrovascular disease, such as hypertension, cigarette smoking, dyslipidemia, obesity, and albuminuria (macro or micro).228 Because of the platelet defects associated with diabetes, it is recommended that the dose of aspirin should be 300 mg per day,228–230 although the American Diabetes Association’s position statement (http://www.diabetes.org/DiabetesCare/supplement198/s45.htm) advocates a dose of 81 to 325 mg enteric-coated aspirin per day. If the patient cannot tolerate aspirin, then clopidogrel231 can be used.
You may be able to manage your type 2 diabetes with healthy eating and being active, or your doctor may prescribe insulin, other injectable medications, or oral diabetes medicines to help control your blood sugar and avoid complications. You’ll still need to eat healthy and be active if you take insulin or other medicines. It’s also important to keep your blood pressure and cholesterol under control and get necessary screening tests.
Unexplained weight loss can happen for lots of reasons, and diabetes is one of them. Goundan explains that insulin helps your body move sugar from your blood to your cells, so when you have an insulin resistance, you don’t get enough energy into your cells despite all that sugar flowing through your body. “Because you’re unable to get enough energy from sugar, your body burns your own fat and muscle for energy," Kellis says. "Weight loss can be pretty significant, sometimes 10 to 20 pounds."
×