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Type 2 Diabetes - Adult Onset Diabetes

Type 2 Diabetes
Photo Benjamin Earwicker

Some kids can have type 2 diabetes without knowing it

Type 2 diabetes was previously called non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus or adult-onset diabetes because it used to affect adults. However, nowadays it is increasingly being diagnosed in children and adolescents due to the obesity epidemic we experience today.

Type 2 diabetes develops slowly and the symptoms are usually less severe than in people with type 1 diabetes. Some people may not notice any symptoms at all and are only diagnosed after a routine medical check up.

Type 2 diabetes affects about 90% to 95% of all diagnosed people with diabetes. It usually begins as pre-diabetes and is related to insulin resistance, a disorder in which the cells do not use insulin properly and cause hyperinsulinemia, that is, a higher production of insulin to keep blood glucose levels controlled. But even though there is much insulin in the blood, it cannot work correctly on the surface of the cells to allow glucose to enter and be used or stored. This causes high blood glucose levels.

Type 2 diabetes is associated with older age, obesity, family history of diabetes, history of gestational diabetes, physical inactivity, and race/ethnicity. African Americans, Hispanic/Latino Americans, American Indians, and some Asian Americans and Native Hawaiians or Other Pacific Islanders are at high risk.

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