Type 2 diabetes:
- Occurs when the pancreas does not produce enough insulin and/or the insulin does not work effectively and/or the cells of the body do not respond to insulin effectively (known as insulin resistance)
- Represents 85–90 per cent of all cases of diabetes
- Usually develops in adults over the age of 45 years but is increasingly occurring in younger age groups including children, adolescents and young adults
- Is more likely in people with a family history of type 2 diabetes or from particular ethnic backgrounds
- For some the first sign may be a complication of diabetes such as a heart attack, vision problems or a foot ulcer
- Is managed with a combination of regular physical activity, healthy eating and weight reduction. As type 2 diabetes is often progressive, most people will need oral medications and/or insulin injections in addition to lifestyle changes over time.
Type 2 diabetes results from a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Although there is a strong genetic predisposition, the risk is greatly increased when associated with lifestyle factors such as high blood pressure, being overweight or obese, insufficient physical activity, poor diet and the classic ‘apple shape’ body where extra weight is carried around the waist.
Type 2 diabetes can often initially be managed with healthy eating and regular physical activity. However, over time most people with type 2 diabetes will also need tablets and many will also need insulin. It is important to note that this is just the natural progression of the condition, and taking tablets or insulin as soon as they are required can result in fewer complications in the long-term.
In this Section
Just Been Diagnosed?
Managing Type 2 Diabetes
Absolute Cardiovascular Risk
Young people and Type 2 Diabetes