Diabetes mellitus (MEL-ih-tus), or simply, diabetes, is a group of diseases characterized by high blood glucose (sugar) levels that result from defects in the body's ability to produce and/or use insulin.
Type 2 diabetes occurs when the body does not make enough insulin or the insulin the body does make is not working properly. We still do not have all of the answers as to what causes type 2 diabetes but we do know it is linked to lifestyle as well as having a strong genetic and family related risk factors.
Type 2 diabetes:
Type 2 diabetes develops over a long period of time (years). By the time someone is told that they have type 2 diabetes, they have lost 50 – 70% of the cells that produce insulin. This means that type 2 diabetes is a combination of ineffective insulin and not enough insulin. Type 2 diabetes is a progressive condition.
Type 2 diabetes can often initially be managed with healthy eating and regular physical activity. However, over time most people with type 2 diabetes will also need tablets and many will also need insulin. It is important to note that this is just the natural progression of the condition, and taking tablets or insulin as soon as they are required can result in fewer complications in the long-term.
In type 2 diabetes, many people have no symptoms at all. As type 2 diabetes is commonly (but not always) diagnosed at a later age, sometimes signs are dismissed as a part of ‘getting older’ In some cases, by the time type 2 diabetes is diagnosed, the complications of diabetes may already be present.