Image for kids with type2 diabetes article Glucose is a type of sugar. Under normal conditions, rising glucose levels in the blood cause the pancreas to produce a hormone known as insulin. Insulin allows the glucose in the blood to enter the cells of the body and be converted into energy. Type 2 diabetes develops when the body loses its ability to respond properly to insulin.

In type 2 diabetes, the body’s cells become less sensitive to insulin. As a result, large amounts are required for glucose control. Unfortunately, the pancreas cannot maintain this high level of insulin production indefinitely, and eventually the body loses the ability to produce all the insulin it needs. At this point, blood sugar levels rise. Despite these high blood sugar levels, symptoms of diabetes may either be absent or mild.

In contrast, type 1 diabetes occurs only after the pancreas is severely damaged by the body’s immune system. The damaged pancreas can no longer produce enough insulin. Instead of the high levels of insulin and insulin resistance seen in type 2 diabetes, very low levels of insulin occur in type 1 diabetes. As a result, sudden serious illness requiring emergency insulin treatment is common in type 1 diabetes.

Obesity is the major cause of most type 2 diabetes. The tissue of overweight people often becomes resistant to insulin. Since physical activity improves tissue sensitivity to insulin, physically inactive people may also have tissues that are more insulin resistant.

The short-term effects of type 2 diabetes include:

  • Frequent urination
  • Increased thirst
  • Fatigue

Possible long-term effects of type 2 diabetes include:

  • Eye disease and vision problems
  • Kidney disease
  • Heart disease and circulatory problems, including stroke
  • Nerve damage, neuropathy
  • Problems with wound healing
  • Reduced life expectancy