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What is Type 2 diabetes?

Type 2 diabetes is a serious condition where the insulin your pancreas makes can’t work properly, or your pancreas can’t make enough insulin.


What causes Type 2 diabetes?

About 90 per cent of people with diabetes have Type 2 diabetes. We all need insulin to live. It does an essential job. It allows the glucose in our blood to enter our cells and fuel our bodies. When you have Type 2 diabetes, your body still breaks down carbohydrate from your food and drink and turns it into glucose.

The pancreas responds to this by releasing insulin. But because this insulin can’t work properly, blood glucose levels keep rising.So more insulin is released. For some people with Type 2 diabetes this can eventually tire the pancreas out, meaning their body makes less and less insulin. This causes even higher blood glucose levels.

Symptoms of Type 2 diabetes

So what does this mean? Well, as your body can’t get enough glucose into your cells, a common symptom of Type 2 diabetes is feeling very tired. Other symptoms include needing to wee a lot, feeling extremely thirsty, cuts and grazes healing slowly, and getting infections like thrush.

A lot of people don’t get any symptoms or they don’t notice them. Some people don’t think the symptoms are important so don’t ask for help. This means that some people live with Type 2 diabetes for up to 10 years before being diagnosed.

And, over a long period of time, high glucose levels in your blood can seriously damage your heart, your eyes, your feet and your kidneys. These are known as the complications of diabetes.

Managing Type 2 diabetes

But with the right treatment and care, the effect of diabetes and high glucose levels can potentially be reversed and certainly managed. So, if you’ve got any of these symptoms, see a doctor as soon as possible.

There are different ways of treating Type 2 diabetes. Some people can manage it by healthier eating, being more active and losing weight. Eventually most people will need medication to bring their blood glucose down to a safe level.

Whatever the treatment, everyone with Type 2 diabetes needs to learn how to live with it. We help people do exactly that.


Get support online

Join our online forum and chat to other people with Type 2 diabetes

Order printed information

Get your free printed guide about Type 2 diabetes

Join a support group

Meet other people with Type 2 diabetes at a local Diabetes UK group
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