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Type 2 Diabetes is a long-term/ chronic disease that develops when the pancreas cannot produce enough insulin, or the body cannot use insulin properly, to allow sugar/ glucose to enter cells and be used for energy. High blood sugar can harm many body systems.
Insulin helps the body use glucose for energy and store extra sugar in muscle, fat, and liver cells. The stored sugar can be released and used for energy when needed. When insulin is not available or is not used properly, the blood sugar level rises above what is safe. If blood sugar levels remain high for years, blood vessels and nerves throughout the body may be damaged, and the person is at increased risk for eye, heart, blood vessel, nerve, and kidney disease.
Common symptoms of diabetes are increased thirst, frequent urination, increased hunger, unusual weight loss, extreme fatigue, and irritability. However, in type 2 diabetes, blood sugar levels rise so slowly that a person usually does not have symptoms and may have the disease for many years before being diagnosed with it.
Type 2 diabetes is the most common type of diabetes. People who develop type 2 diabetes often are overweight and not physically active. It is most common in people who are older than 40 but is becoming more common in children. Type 2 diabetes used to be called adult-onset diabetes or non–insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM).
Type 2 diabetes can be prevented or at least delayed if a person maintains a healthy body weight and exercises regularly. Treatment focuses on keeping blood sugar and cholesterol at safe levels. A balanced diet and regular exercise are effective for many people, but some may need one or more medications, including insulin, to help control blood sugar levels.