Type 2 Diabetes: Definition and Overview

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What Is Type 2 Diabetes and How to Treat It

What is type 2 diabetes?

In type 2 diabetes, there are two main underlying reasons for high blood glucose: insulin resistance, a condition in which the body does not use insulin efficiently, and insufficient insulin secretion by the pancreas. People with type 2 diabetes usually do not show signs of autoimmune disease.

What causes type 2 diabetes?

Type 2 diabetes usually develops in adults, but it is now occurring with alarming frequency in children. The growing epidemic of obesity in children is believed to be a major contributor to the increase of type 2 diabetes in children. Symptoms of type 2 diabetes are generally the same as those for type 1 diabetes, but they may be much milder. In fact, many people with type 2 diabetes are unaware that they have it. Other symptoms may include wounds that heal slowly, frequent infections, and, in adults, sexual dysfunction, including impotence.

How to treat type 2 diabetes

Treatment for type 2 diabetes may include taking oral medicines to decrease insulin resistance and/or increase insulin secretion and taking other drugs to treat any diabetes-related conditions; it may also include taking insulin. Attention to diet and regular physical activity are important treatment components. Weight loss can also help to reverse insulin resistance and lower blood glucose if a person is overweight.

Originally Published November 24, 2009

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