What is Type 2 Diabetes?

Type 2 diabetes is a condition in which the body has trouble controlling the amount of glucose (sugar) in the blood.

What Causes Type 2 Diabetes?

In many cases, excess weight gain can cause Type 2 diabetes. The condition can also develop when the following processes in the body occur:

  • Insulin resistance. This is a condition in which the body does not respond normally to insulin made by the pancreas (a small digestive organ behind the stomach). Insulin is a hormone that acts as a bridge between the bloodstream and cells. Insulin lets sugar to enter the cells. Then, the cells use the sugar for energy. Insulin also helps lower blood sugar levels after meals. About half of all teenagers with obesity also have insulin resistance.
  • In some people, beta cells in the pancreas cannot make enough insulin to make up for insulin resistance. Over time, people lose beta cells and the pancreas makes less insulin. This loss of beta cells and lower insulin levels leads to high blood sugar.

What are the Symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes?

  • Fatigue (extreme tiredness)
  • Feeling very thirsty
  • Urinating more than usual
  • Blurry eyesight
  • Darkening and thickening of skin, usually around the neck and under the arms

Rev. 4/2015. Mass General for Children and Massachusetts General Hospital do not endorse any of the brands listed on this handout. This handout is intended to provide health information so that you can be better informed. It is not a substitute for medical advice and should not be used to treatment of any medical conditions.