Type 2 diabetes is a condition that occurs if your blood glucose (blood sugar) is too high. Blood sugar comes from the food you eat. It is the main source of your body’s energy. Your body uses a hormone made by your pancreas called insulin to get the glucose to your body’s cells.
If you have type 2 diabetes, your body doesn’t use insulin properly. This is called insulin resistance. It leads to your pancreas making more insulin to try to get enough glucose into the body’s cells. Over time, the pancreas can’t keep up with the demand and doesn’t make enough insulin. At this point, glucose starts building up in the blood. When this happens regularly, you have type 2 diabetes.
Type 2 diabetes is by far the most common type of diabetes. It usually arises in middle-aged and older adults. But it can develop at any age including childhood. About 32 million adults have type 2 diabetes.
Diabetes is a serious condition. If it is not treated, it can cause permanent damage. It can damage your eyes, kidneys, heart, brain, nerves, and circulation. Diabetes also raises your risk of having a heart attack or stroke. It is a common cause of blindness and lower leg amputations in the US. Most people with type 2 diabetes have it for the rest of their lives.
Type 2 diabetes usually develops slowly over time and many people don’t have symptoms. This is why it may not be found right away. Early treatment of type 2 diabetes can prevent permanent damage. You may even return to prediabetes or normal blood sugar levels. So, get tested for diabetes whenever your doctor suggests it.