About Type 2 Diabetes

What is it?

Type 2 Diabetes is the most common form of diabetes.  It constitutes 90% of the cases in the United States.  A high level of sugar, or glucose, in the blood is the largest determinant of this disease.  Glucose comes from two sources, the foods that we eat and production in the liver.1  Insulin is a hormone needed to move the blood sugar into cells so that it can be later used as energy.  Insulin resistance occurs in Type 2 Diabetes, so blood sugar is never stored as fuel within the cell.  As a result, the high levels of sugar remain in the blood causing hyperglycemia.  If blood sugar levels are above 200 mg/dL, more tests may need to be done to confirm the suspicion of type 2 diabetes.  If fasting blood glucose levels are higher than 126 mg/dL more than two times, Type 2 Diabetes is diagnosed.2  

Damaged Metabolic Process:

Key Terms

Insulin: hormone that comes from the pancreas.  When you eat, the pancreas releases insulin, which allows sugar to enter the cells.  Insulin lowers the amount of sugar in the bloodstream.

Hyperglycemia: technical term for high blood glucose (sugar). High blood glucose happens when the body has too little insulin or when the body cannot use insulin properly.

MetaCure. (Producer). (2012). Damaged metabolic process in type 2 diabetes. [Web Graphic]. Retrieved from http://www.metacure.com/about-diabetes-2/type-2-diabetes-mellitus-t2dm/


  • Fatigue
  • Hunger
  • Increased thirst
  • Increased urination
  • Bladder, kidney, skin, or other infections that are more frequent or heal slowly
  • Pain or numbness in the hands or feet
  • Blurred vision
  • Erectile dysfunction
What Causes Type 2 Diabetes?

MetaCure. (Producer). (2012). What causes diabetes? [Web Graphic]. Retrieved from http://www.metacure.com/about-diabetes-2/type-2-diabetes-mellitus-t2dm/

Risk Factors
  • Overweight - Primary risk factor, the more fatty tissue, the more resistant cells become to insulin
  • Fat Distribution - If fat stores are primarily in the abdomen are (as opposed to hips), risk is greater
  • Inactivity - The less active you are, the greater the risk.  Physical activity helps to control weight, eliminating the primary risk factor of being overweight
  • Family History - Risk increases if parents or siblings have Type 2 Diabetes
  • Age - Risk increases as you get older, especially after the age of 45.  This could be because people tend to exercise less and gain weight as they age.  This stresses the importance of leading a preventative lifestyle now by making exercise a daily routine, as well as eating a healthy diet.  
  • Pre-diabetes - Condition in which blood sugar is higher than normal, though not high enough to be diagnosed as Type 2 Diabetes.  If left untreated, it may progress to Type 2 Diabetes.
  • Smoking - Impairs insulin sensitivity and glucose tolerance.3


1. Mayo Clinic Staff. (2012, January 25). Type 2 diabetes. Retrieved from http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/type-2-diabetes/Ds00585/DSECTION=causes

2. A.D.A.M. Medical Encyclopedia. (2011, June 28). Type 2 diabetes. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nigh.gove/pubmedhealth/PMH0001356/

3. Ding, E. L., & Hu, F. B. (2007). Smoking and type 2 diabetes. JAMA, 298(22), 2675. doi: 10.1001/jama.298.22.2675