Type 2 Diabetes
Type 2 is the most common form of diabetes, affecting 85-90% of all people with diabetes. While it usually affects older adults, more and more younger people, even children, are getting type 2 diabetes. In type 2 diabetes, the pancreas makes some insulin but it is not produced in the amount your body needs and it does not work effectively. 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, overweight or obesity, 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 disease, and taking tablets or insulin as soon as they are required can result in fewer complications in the long-term. There is currently no cure for type 2 diabetes.
In this Section
Cause of Type 2 Diabetes
Symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes
Preventing Type 2 Diabetes
Managing Type 2 Diabetes
Cause of Type 2 Diabetes
While there is no single cause of type 2 diabetes, there are well-established risk factors. Some of these can be changed and some cannot. You are at a higher risk of getting type 2 diabetes if you:
have a family history of diabetes
are older (over 55 years of age ) - the risk increases as we age •
are over 45 years of age and are overweight
are over 45 years of age and have high blood pressure
are over 35 years of age and are from an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander background •
are over 35 years of age and are from Pacific Island, Indian subcontinent or Chinese cultural background •
are a woman who has given birth to a child over 4.5 kgs (9 lbs), or had gestational diabetes when pregnant, or had a condition known as Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. What causes type 2 diabetes?
Type 2 diabetes is caused by a combination of genetic and lifestyle factors. Although there is a strong family link (you are more likely to get type 2 diabetes if a close family member has it), the chance of getting type 2 diabetes is greater if you: •
have high blood pressure
do little physical activity
have a high fat, high sugar diet.
Type 2 diabetes progresses slowly and you can have it for many years without knowing it. It differs from type 1 diabetes, which is thought to occur because the body's immune system attacks and destroys the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. Type 2 diabetes is not caused by the body’s immune system. Other causes of diabetes
During pregnancy, a woman’s body needs two to three times more insulin than usual to keep her blood glucose levels normal. Gestational diabetes develops if your pancreas is unable to produce the extra insulin needed, causing higher than normal blood sugar (glucose) levels. Gestational diabetes can often be controlled with diet and exercise, and will usually improve or disappear after your baby is born, but your doctor may test you for diabetes 3 months after your baby is born, and every 1 or 2 years after that. If you would like to know more, read our information on gestational diabetes. Pancreas disease or damage
Pancreatic disease (chronic pancreatitis), or damage to the pancreas, in particular to the cells in the pancreas that produce insulin, can also cause diabetes. This means that the pancreas makes less insulin, resulting in higher than normal blood glucose levels. Medication-induced diabetes
Some medicines such as corticosteroids (e.g. prednisolone or dexamethasone) can cause weight gain, and increase the amount of glucose and lipids (cholesterol and fats) in the blood. This increases the risk of...
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