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Cartersville Medical Center

Conditions InDepth: Type 2 Diabetes

Insulin is a hormone normally produced by the pancreas. Insulin helps your body convert food into energy. Without insulin, glucose (sugar) from food cannot enter cells, and glucose builds up in the blood. Your body tissues become starved for energy.

Type 2 diabetes is primarily a disorder in which the cells are not responding to the high levels of insulin circulating in the body. The body becomes increasingly resistant to insulin. As type 2 diabetes progresses, the over-worked beta cells of the pancreas start to make less insulin.

How Type 2 Diabetes Occurs
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Type 2 diabetes occurs because either one or both of the following conditions exist:

  • Fat, muscle, or liver cells do not respond to the high levels of insulin (called insulin resistance)
  • Beta cells in the pancreas do not make enough insulin relative to the demands of the body

People older than age 45 years are at higher risk of developing this condition, but it can occur at any age—even during childhood. Being overweight or obese is the primary cause of insulin resistance, and it increases the chance of developing type 2 diabetes.

If diabetes is left untreated, serious health complications can occur. These complications affect the eyes, heart, kidneys, blood and nerve supply, and immune system.

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Revision Information

  • Diabetes mellitus type 2. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: Updated July 29, 2013. Accessed August 28, 2013.

  • Type 2 diabetes. American Diabetes Association website. Available at: Accessed August 28, 2013.

The health information in this Health Library is provided by a third party. Cartersville Medical Center does not in any way create the content of this information. It is provided solely for informational purposes. It does not constitute medical advice and is not intended to be a substitute for proper medical care provided by a physician. Always consult with your doctor for appropriate examinations, treatment, testing, and care recommendations. Do not rely on information on this site as a tool for self-diagnosis. If you have a medical emergency, call 911.