Home Guide to diabetes What is diabetes? What is Type 2 diabetes?

What is Type 2 diabetes?

Type 2 diabetes develops when the insulin-producing cells in the body are unable to produce enough insulin, or when the insulin that is produced does not work properly (known as insulin resistance).

Who typically gets Type 2 diabetes?

Type 2 diabetes usually appears in people over the age of 40, though in South Asian people, who are at greater risk, it often appears from the age of 25. It is also increasingly becoming more common in children, adolescents and young people of all ethnicities. Type 2 diabetes accounts for between 85 and 95 per cent of all people with diabetes and is treated with a healthy diet and increased physical activity. In addition to this, medication and/or insulin are often required.

In Type 2 diabetes there is not enough insulin (or the insulin isn’t working properly), so the cells are only partially unlocked  and glucose builds up in the blood.

 

What is insulin?

Insulin is a hormone. It works as a chemical messenger that helps your body use the glucose in your blood to give you energy. You can think of it as the key that unlocks the door to the body’s cells. Once the door is unlocked glucose can enter the cells where it is used as fuel.

 

Type 2 diabetes in children

The vast majority of children with diabetes have Type 1 diabetes, but an increasing number are now developing Type 2 diabetes.You can find out more in our children's section here. The International Society for Paediatric and Adolescent Diabetes (ISPAD) has produced guidelines for the management of Type 2 diabetes in children; go to www.ispad.org for further information.