Overweight, obesity, and physical inactivity are all factors that can lead to the development of type 2 diabetes. Excess weight can cause insulin resistance, which is a common symptom of type 2 diabetes. The location of body fat also plays a role in the development of this condition. Type 2 diabetes is a chronic disease that occurs when the body's blood glucose, also known as blood sugar, is too high.
Glucose is the main source of energy for the body and comes from the food we eat. Insulin, a hormone produced by the pancreas, helps glucose enter cells to be used as an energy source. In type 2 diabetes, either the body does not produce enough insulin or it does not use it properly. This results in too much glucose staying in the blood and not enough reaching the cells.
No matter where you are on your journey with type 2 diabetes, there are a few things you should know. It is the most common form of diabetes and is caused by the body not using insulin properly. While some people can control their blood sugar levels with healthy eating and exercise, others may need medication or insulin to do so. Genetics and lifestyle both contribute to the body becoming insulin resistant in type 2 diabetes.
You may also have a type 2 form where your body just doesn't produce enough insulin; this is less common. You are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes if you are 45 or older, have a family history of diabetes, or are overweight or obese. People of Asian descent who are in the normal weight range may have too much visceral fat and be at risk for type 2 diabetes with a lower BMI. Diabetes Self-Management Education and Support Services (DSMES) can help you stay healthy and thrive with diabetes. There is no cure for type 2 diabetes, but losing weight, eating well, and exercising can help you manage it.
Controlling blood glucose, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels, as well as quitting smoking if you smoke, are important ways to manage type 2 diabetes. The American Diabetes Association Community page external icon and the ADCES Peer Support Resources external icon are great ways to connect with others who share your experience. You can also reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes by up to 58% (71% if you are 60 or older) through lifestyle changes such as planning healthy meals, limiting calories if you are overweight, and being physically active.