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What Is Type 2 Diabetes?

Type 2 diabetes—previously known as adult-onset or non–insulin-dependent diabetes—is a chronic and progressive condition that affects the way your body controls the amount of sugar (glucose) in the blood.

Type 2 diabetes can be caused by changes in multiple organs and hormones in the body. Over time, these changes lead to high sugar (glucose) levels. Insulin is a hormone that transfers glucose from the blood into cells to produce the energy needed for daily activities. In people who have type 2 diabetes, insulin can't do its job. That's because too little insulin is produced to keep glucose levels normal, or the body fails to respond to it.

As part of this condition, other hormones—which help control the amount of glucose appearing in or being transferred from the blood—also don't work the right way. This causes blood glucose levels to go up. These high glucose levels can get worse because the body increases the amount of glucose that is produced and the excess glucose is recirculated into the blood.

References: 1. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK); US Department of Health and Human Services. Types of diabetes. https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/diabetes/types. Published February 2014. Accessed November 9, 2016. 2. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK); US Department of Health and Human Services. Causes of diabetes. https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/diabetes/causes. Published August 2014. Accessed November 9, 2016.

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