Type 2 diabetes (formerly adult-onset or noninsulin-dependent diabetes) is a chronic disease in which your body is unable to maintain a normal blood sugar (glucose) level. Abnormally high or low levels of glucose-- which is your body’s “fuel” or energy source--is a potentially serious threat to your health.

Regulation of blood sugar levels depends on a normal supply of insulin, a hormone made in the pancreas. When food is eaten, the pancreas releases insulin to move sugar from circulation into body cells for energy or storage in liver, muscle and fat for future energy usage. In untreated type 2 diabetes, your body is either blocking the sugar-regulating effects of insulin (called insulin resistance) or not producing enough insulin to keep your blood sugar at normal levels. Type 2 diabetes if different than type 1 diabetes, where your body does not produce insulin.

While the cause of Type 2 diabetes is unknown, risk factors include:

  • Obesity
  • Lack of regular exercise
  • Abdominal fat
  • Family history
  • Advancing age
  • Gestational (pregnancy) diabetes