A person taking a sample of their blood

Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 diabetes is a chronic condition affecting the body's ability to process sugar (glucose) for energy, leading to dangerously high levels of blood glucose (hyperglycemia). It's the most common form of diabetes.

Symptoms of type 2 diabetes may include excessive thirst, frequent urination, and extreme fatigue. As the disease progresses, serious complications can develop, including skin disorders, sexual dysfunction, nerve damage, kidney disease, and vision loss.

Type 2 diabetes develops when the body becomes less sensitive to insulin (a hormone essential for bringing glucose into cells). The condition can be diagnosed with a simple blood test. 

In many cases, type 2 diabetes can be managed through lifestyle modifications like diet and exercise, though medication may also be necessary. 

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What causes type 2 diabetes?

    Type 2 diabetes is caused by insulin resistance (when cells become less sensitive to insulin), or when the pancreas produces less insulin than necessary for proper glucose balance. While family history and genetics play a role in the development of type 2 diabetes, lifestyle factors such as consuming a diet rich in processed foods, low physical activity, and obesity can contribute, too.

  • Is type 2 diabetes curable?

    If you're able to closely follow a comprehensive treatment plan (typically including both medication and lifestyle changes), type 2 diabetes can be reversible. Reversible isn't the same as curable, but it does mean a reduced risk of future complications. It may be possible for some people to wean off medication and manage their diabetes solely through diet and exercise.

  • What is the difference between type 1 and type 2 diabetes?

    Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune condition in which the body's immune cells attack the pancreas, stopping insulin production. It usually develops during childhood, but may occur after age 30, too. Type 2 diabetes is a chronic disease in which the body's cells become desensitized to insulin. It typically sets in during adulthood, but may affect children, too.

  • Is type 2 diabetes genetic?

    It seems that if you have a family member who has been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, you're more likely to develop the condition yourself, suggesting a genetic component. However, having a genetic disposition is not a guarantee you'll be diagnosed—your lifestyle plays an important part, too. What you eat, how much you exercise, your weight and age all determine which genes can be turned on or off—a concept called epigenetics.

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Page Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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  2. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Symptoms & causes of diabetes. December 2016.

  3. American Diabetes Association. Complications.

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  6. U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Insulin resistance and diabetes. Updated 2019.

  7. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Insulin resistance and prediabetes. December 2016.

Additional Reading