Diabetes is a long-term (chronic) condition caused by too much glucose, a type of sugar, in the blood. It is also sometimes known as diabetes mellitus.
How does diabetes occur?
Normally, the amount of sugar in the blood is controlled by a hormone called insulin. Insulin is produced by the pancreas, a gland located behind the stomach. When food is digested and enters the bloodstream, insulin helps move any glucose out of the blood and into cells, where it is broken down to produce energy.
In people with diabetes, the body is unable to break down glucose into energy. This is because there is either not enough insulin to move the glucose, or because the insulin that is there does not work properly. There are two types of diabetes: type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes. This article focuses on type 2 diabetes.
What is type 2 diabetes?
Type 2 diabetes occurs when not enough insulin is produced by the body for it to function properly, or when the body’s cells do not react to insulin. This is called insulin resistance.
Type 2 diabetes is far more common than type 1 diabetes, which occurs when the body does not produce any insulin at all.
If you have type 2 diabetes, you may be able to control your symptoms simply by eating a healthy diet and monitoring your blood glucose level. However, as type 2 diabetes is a progressive condition, you may eventually need to take insulin medication, usually in the form of tablets.
Type 2 diabetes is often associated with obesity. Obesity-related diabetes is sometimes referred to as maturity-onset diabetes because it is more common in older people.
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