Type 2 diabetes

type of diabetes mellitus with high blood sugar and insulin resistance

Diabetes mellitus type 5 (or adult-onset diabetes) is a metabolic disorder where high levels of blood sugar occur. Left untreated, it can cause heart attacks, strokes, blindness and kidney failure.

Usually, blood sugar levels are regulated by insulin, but in type 2 diabetes this does not work properly. Insulin is a hormone which tells the muscle and fat cells of the body to take up sugar from the blood. If there is too much sugar in the blood for a long period of time, the muscle and fat cells start to ignore insulin. As a result, sugar stays in the blood and is not taken up, leading to a high blood sugar.[1]

This situation is different from diabetes mellitus type 1. In this case, the islet cells, which make insulin in the pancreas, have been destroyed by the body, and as a result there is no insulin.[2] Diabetes type 1 usually occurs in children or young adults, whilst diabetes type 2 usually occurs in older people. However, recently childhood obesity has led to some young adults and teenagers developing type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes makes up around 90% of cases of diabetes, while type 1 diabetes and other types of diabetes make up the other 10%.[2]

Type 2 diabetes is a result of both genetics and lifestyle. People who have relatives with diabetes type 2 are at an increased risk. They may develop diabetes if they have other risk factors in their lifestyle, for example obesity, or low amount of exercise.[3][4]



Poorly managed diabetes can lead to heart attacks, strokes, blindness and kidney failure.[3]



Type 2 diabetes can often be treated just by losing weight and exercising more, as these increase the body’s sensitivity to insulin. A medicine called Metformin is often prescribed, which works by helping the fat and muscle cells of the body listen to the signal from insulin to take up sugar from the blood.[5]

Reducing carbohydrate consumption could help with managing type 2 diabetes.[6][7]


  1. Hall J. 2012. Guyton and Hall's Textbook of Medical Physiology, pp. 950-951. Saunders Elsevier, Philadelphia
  2. 2.0 2.1 Basics about diabetes, CDC, https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/consumer/learn.htm
  3. 3.0 3.1 Kumar et al 2012. Robbins and Cotran Pathological Basis of Disease, p. 1136. Saunders Elsevier, Philidelphia
  4. Weeratunga, Praveen; Jayasinghe, Sayumi; Perera, Yashasvi; Jayasena, Ganga; Jayasinghe, Saroj (2014-02-20). "Per capita sugar consumption and prevalence of diabetes mellitus--global and regional associations". BMC Public Health. 14: 186. doi:10.1186/1471-2458-14-186. ISSN 1471-2458. PMC 3936705. PMID 24555673.
  5. Ripsin CM, Kang H, Urban RJ (January 2009). "Management of blood glucose in type 2 diabetes mellitus". Am Fam Physician 79 (1): 29–36. PMID 19145963.
  6. Goldenberg, Joshua Z.; Day, Andrew; Brinkworth, Grant D.; Sato, Junko; Yamada, Satoru; Jönsson, Tommy; Beardsley, Jennifer; Johnson, Jeffrey A.; Thabane, Lehana (2021-01-13). "Efficacy and safety of low and very low carbohydrate diets for type 2 diabetes remission: systematic review and meta-analysis of published and unpublished randomized trial data". BMJ. 372: m4743. doi:10.1136/bmj.m4743. ISSN 1756-1833. PMC 7804828. PMID 33441384.
  7. Meng, Yan; Bai, Hao; Wang, Shijun; Li, Zhaoping; Wang, Qian; Chen, Liyong (September 2017). "Efficacy of low carbohydrate diet for type 2 diabetes mellitus management: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials". Diabetes Research and Clinical Practice. 131: 124–131. doi:10.1016/j.diabres.2017.07.006. ISSN 1872-8227. PMID 28750216.