What Is Type 2 Diabetes?

Diabetes occurs when the body does not make enough insulin or doesn’t respond to insulin properly.

To understand diabetes, you need to know what insulin is and why your body needs it.

  • Insulin is a hormone that helps move sugar into your body’s cells for energy.
  • Your cells need energy for almost every job your body does.

In type 2 diabetes:

  • Your body prevents the insulin it does make from working properly (known as insulin resistance).
  • Your body may make some insulin but not enough.

If you have type 2 diabetes, you are not alone. In the United States, 90% to 95% of adults with diabetes have type 2 diabetes. It is estimated that 80% of people who have type 2 diabetes are overweight.

Who is at risk for type 2 diabetes?

Anyone can get type 2 diabetes, but some people are at greater risk than others. Some common risk factors include:

  • Being overweight or obese
  • Having a family member such as a parent, brother, or sister who has diabetes
  • Being a member of a high-risk ethnic group, which includes African Americans, Asian Americans, Latinos, and Native Americans

How is type 2 diabetes managed?

Most people who have type 2 diabetes will need to combine staying active and eating healthy with diabetes medication to help keep their blood sugar levels in target range. Your health care provider will work with you to design the right treatment plan to help you reach and maintain your type 2 diabetes management goals.