All About Type 2 Diabetes

People with Type 2 diabetes produce insulin, but it's either not enough or the body can't use the insulin like it should. This is called insulin resistance. When there is not enough insulin or the insulin is not used as it should be, sugar can't get into the body's cells. It builds up in the blood supply instead, resulting in high blood sugar readings. Type 2 diabetes usually occurs gradually.

Risk Factors for Type 2 Diabetes

If you have certain risk factors, it means you are more likely to have or develop diabetes.

  • Over age 45
  • Family history of diabetes
  • Overweight or obese
  • No regular exercise routine
  • Low HDL cholesterol, high triglycerides or high blood pressure 
  • Certain racial or ethnic groups (Studies show Non-Hispanic Blacks, Hispanic/Latino Americans, Asian Americans, Pacific Islanders, American Indians and Alaska Natives are at higher risk.)
  • Women who had gestational diabetes when pregnant, or had a baby weighing 9 pounds or more at birth
  • Those with impaired glucose tolerance (IGT) and/or impaired fasting glucose (IFG) (IGT is a term to describe when a person has elevated blood sugar after eating. IFG is a term to describe when a person has elevated blood sugar in the morning before eating or drinking.)

Symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes

  • Increased thirst 
  • Frequent urination 
  • Extreme hunger 
  • Unexplained weight-loss 
  • Blurred vision 
  • Fatigue 
  • Frequent infections (gum, skin, vaginal, bladder)
  • Slow-healing sores
  • Erectile dysfunction 

It is also important to remember that some people who have diabetes have no symptoms. Talk to your doctor if you have any symptoms or if you feel you are at risk.


If you are experiencing urgent symptoms that you believe may immediately affect your health or well-being, seek emergency help right away by dailing 911.

How is Type 2 diabetes diagnosed?

Type 2 diabetes is diagnosed with the following blood tests:

  • Fasting blood glucose level – Confirmed diabetes if level is higher than 126 on two occasions.
  • Oral glucose tolerance test – Confirmed diabetes if level is higher than 200 after 2 hours.
  • Random (non-fasting) blood glucose level – Diabetes is suspected if level is higher than 200 and by the classic symptoms of increased thirst, urination, and feels of lack of energy or weakness. (This test must be completed with a fasting blood glucose test.)

Test results showing that a person has diabetes should be confirmed with a second test on a different day. If results of testing are normal, testing should be repeated at least every 3 years. Doctors may recommend more frequent testing based on initial results and risk status.