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What is Type 2 diabetes?

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Quick Answer

Type 2 diabetes is also known as insulin resistance; the body does not produce and use insulin fast enough to keep the glucose level in the blood at a normal level, states the American Diabetes Association. At first, the pancreas increases production of insulin to keep up with the body's demand but after a while, it cannot produce enough insulin, and glucose levels in the blood rise.

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According to Mayo Clinic, type 2 diabetes has several risk factors, including being overweight, family history, polycystic ovarian syndrome, age and whether a patient had gestational diabetes when pregnant. It is important to keep blood sugar levels under control as diabetes contributes to many diseases, including retinopathy, or damage to the blood vessels in the eyes; several cardiovascular problems, including hypertension and atherosclerosis; kidney disease, which can lead to kidney failure; and nerve damage to both feet and hands.

Treatment of type 2 diabetes, also referred to as non-insulin-dependent diabetes, varies according to the severity of the disease. For many patients, diabetes is controlled through exercise and diet alone, according to WebMD. Some patients, however, need to add oral medications and insulin to control high blood sugar levels. Patients who end up needing insulin usually develop beta-cell failure, meaning that cells within the pancreas no longer produce any insulin.

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