What is Type 2 Diabetes?

Type 2 Diabetes is defined as impaired glucose (sugar) tolerance, and it can be measured with several blood tests. In simple terms, because the body is unable to properly regulate blood sugar in type 2 diabetes, the sugar level remains high in the blood as it circulates through the body.

Unfortunately, this high level of sugar in the blood causes damages to the organs, blood vessels and nerves. Click here to learn more about the complications associated with type 2 diabetes.

How does someone develop type 2 diabetes?

Unlike Type 1 Diabetes, type 2 diabetes generally starts with the body becoming resistant to insulin. Abnormal function of the islet cells in the pancreas causes abnormal insulin production and disrupts the body’s response to insulin.

How many people have Type 2 Diabetes?

In 2010, an estimated 285 million people worldwide had diabetes,[1] 90% of whom had type 2 diabetes. This number has more than doubled worldwide over the past 30 years,[2] and it is projected to grow to 439 million people by 2030.[1]

In the US alone, 37.4 million people had diabetes in 2010, and this number is projected to rise to 53.2 million people by 2030.[1]

How is Type 2 Diabetes treated?

Please see our next article to learn how type 2 diabetes is treated.


  1. Shaw, J. E., Sicree, R. A. & Zimmet, P. Z. Global estimates of the prevalence of diabetes for 2010 and 2030. Diabetes Res. Clin. Pract. 87, 4–14 (2010).
  2. Zimmet, P., Alberti, K. G. & Shaw, J. Global and societal implications of the diabetes epidemic. Nature 414, 782–787 (2001).
  3. Danaei, G. et al. National, regional, and global trends in fasting plasma glucose and diabetes prevalence since 1980: systematic analysis of health examination surveys and epidemiological studies with 370 country-years and 2.7 million participants. Lancet 378, 31–40 (2011).