Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of the disease, accounting for 90 to 95% of all diabetes cases in America.

Most people with type 2 diabetes are still able to produce insulin at diagnosis. However, the insulin they make does not work properly and is unable to perform its primary job, which is helping the body’s cells use glucose for energy.  This characteristic of type 2 diabetes is called insulin resistance. If left untreated, the high blood sugar levels from uncontrolled diabetes can cause serious long-term diabetic complications. Eventually, they damage the insulin-producing beta cells of the pancreas, reducing insulin output. Although the majority of people with type 2 diabetes are adults, children and adolescents are increasingly at risk for the disease due to growing childhood weight problems and sedentary lifestyles.


Diabetes ResearchA long-term commitment to good nutrition, careful monitoring of carbohydrate intake, and regular physical activity is critical to successful type 2 diabetes treatment. Medications for type 2 diabetes are prescribed when diet and exercise alone aren’t enough to keep blood sugars in a safe range. Some people with type 2 diabetes may eventually require regular insulin injections to keep their blood glucose levels in control.The information provided by regular blood sugar testing helps your healthcare team assess how effective a type 2 diabetes treatment plan is and provides data for making necessary adjustments.


Unlike type 1 diabetes, which usually has a sudden onset of symptoms, the signs of type 2 diabetes are often gradual. The first symptoms that some people experience may be those from complications of the disease, such as blurry vision or foot pain.  Not everyone with type 2 diabetes has symptoms in the early stages.

Type 2 diabetes symptoms include:

  • Excessive thirst and frequent urination
  • Extreme hunger
  • Fatigue, or a feeling of being “run down” and tired
  • Blurred vision
  • Dry, itchy skin
  • Tingling or burning pain in the feet, legs, hands, or other body parts
  • High blood pressure
  • Mood swings or depression
  • Frequent infections, such as urinary tract infections, yeast infections, and skin infections
  • Slow healing of cuts and bruises

Source: National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion,
Division of Diabetes Translation