University of Illinois Extension
 

Type 2 Diabetes

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cell receptors are not working to let insulin-glucose enter the cell
Cell receptors are not working to let insulin-glucose enter the cell.

Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes. Ninety-five percent of the people who have diabetes have type 2. Although it was once thought that type 2 diabetes occurred only in adults, it is now known that people can develop type 2 diabetes at any age. With type 2 diabetes, the receptors on the cells become resistant to insulin and therefore cannot let glucose into the cell. Type 2 diabetes may also result if the body does not make enough insulin. Both problems with the cell receptor or with the amount of insulin produced, lead to high blood glucose levels. Being overweight and inactive increases the chance of developing type 2 diabetes.

Insulin resistance is a condition when normal insulin levels do not result in glucose entry into the cell. Higher than normal insulin levels in the blood occur in insulin resistance.

People who have insulin resistance are usually overweight or obese. They may have a normal blood glucose, be diagnosed as “pre-diabetes”, or have type 2 diabetes. People who have a normal blood glucose may have no symptoms of insulin resistance but usually develop pre-diabetes. Those with pre-diabetes usually develop type 2 diabetes. The exception to this progression occurs when overweight or obese people lose weight, eat a healthy diet, and exercise regularly.

Not everyone who is obese or overweight will develop insulin resistance, although a lot of people will. Genetics, diet, and activity levels all can play an important role in how well insulin and glucose interact.

type 2

Symptoms of type 2 diabetes include:

  • Frequent urination (polyuria)
  • Thirst (polydipsia)
  • Blurred vision
  • Unintentional weight gain or weight loss, although little weight change may occur
  • Fatigue

However, many people have no noticeable symptoms. This is because type 2 diabetes develops over a long time, usually several years. With these gradual changes in insulin resistance and glucose tolerance, a person may not notice symptoms as unusual, especially if they are older. For instance, blurry vision that could occur due to damage by high blood glucose to the eye could be mistaken for normal eye changes with aging. Another possible symptom of type 2 diabetes is slow wound healing. The high blood glucose prevents the normal healing process from occurring, and cuts or scrapes take a very long time to heal. Another possible symptom of type 2 diabetes in women is multiple urinary tract infections. The increased excretion of high levels of glucose also attract yeast, and can cause an infection.

Back to: General Overview of Diabetes and Food

This document is a source of information only, and is not medical advice.