What Is Type 2 Diabetes?

Hi, I’m Ansley Dalbo from Diabetes—What
To Know. I’m here today to answer a question that
many people have– what is diabetes? Diabetes is a condition that makes it hard
for your body to properly process sugar. Believe it or not, sugar (which is also called
glucose) is the food that fuels all living things. Every cell in your body burns glucose for
energy—this fuel is what allows you to think, move, even make your heart beat. But too much glucose in your blood, over a
long period of time, can slowly cause damage to your arteries and nerves, that can eventually
result in complications of diabetes. So, how does that happen? And what causes diabetes in the first place? Because our program is designed primarily
for people with type 2 diabetes, which accounts for 90% of all diabetes cases, I’m going
to focus on what happens there. But you should also know that there are two
other kinds of diabetes– Type 1 diabetes is an auto-immune disease that causes the
body to attack its own insulin production system; and there is also gestational diabetes,
a kind of temporary diabetes that strikes some pregnant women. Type 2 diabetes is chronic, progressive illness. That means that it never goes away, and Untreated,
it will gradually get worse as time goes by. To understand what happens in type 2 diabetes,
you need to learn a little about how your body works. Your body digests the food you eat into simple
sugars, amino acids, and fats that are then absorbed into your bloodstream. Glucose is one of those simple sugars and
to move that glucose out of the blood and into the cells where it can be used for energy,
your body uses a hormone called insulin. In people with type 2 diabetes though, the
body becomes resistant to insulin, which means your body doesn’t use insulin effectively. To do that job of moving glucose out of your
blood stream into your cells, your body needs more and more insulin. Eventually, the pancreas which makes insulin
just wears out and without enough insulin, glucose starts building up in your blood. When you consistently have too much glucose
in your blood you have diabetes. So what causes this insulin resistance? We really don’t know—however, it seems
like genetics and environmental factors are triggers. We do know that it runs strongly in families. If one of your parents had type 2 diabetes,
you have a strong chance of developing it yourself. Beyond the underlying genetics that set people
up for diabetes, we know that weight and age can set the process in motion. Type 2 diabetes develops most often in middle-aged
and older people who are also overweight, although it’s important to note that not
everyone with type 2 diabetes is overweight. And that’s the basics of diabetes. Understanding what’s happening in your body
with diabetes is the first step. Now it’s time to start learning about how
you can live a long, healthy life with diabetes and we have lots of videos that will help
you do just that. Thanks for joining us today!

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