just the facts

What is type 2 diabetes?

Type 2 diabetes is a condition where the insulin your pancreas makes can not work properly, or your pancreas can not make enough insulin. 

This means your blood glucose (sugar) levels keep rising and rising.

Learning how to live with type 2 diabetes can be challenging. Some people can manage it through healthier eating, being more active or losing weight. But eventually most people will need medication to bring their blood sugar down to their target level.

What causes type 2 diabetes?

We all need insulin to live. It allows the glucose in our blood to enter our cells and fuel our bodies. When you have type 2 diabetes, your body still breaks down carbohydrate from your food and drink and turns it into glucose. The pancreas then responds to this by releasing insulin. But because this insulin can’t work properly, your blood sugar levels keep rising. This means more insulin is released.

For some people with type 2 diabetes this can eventually tire the pancreas out, meaning their body makes less and less insulin. This can lead to even higher blood sugar levels and mean you are at risk of hyperglycaemia.


Having type 2 diabetes without treatment means that high sugar levels in your blood can seriously damage parts of your body, including your eyes, heart and feet. But with the right treatment and care, you can live well with type 2 diabetes and reduce your risk of developing them.

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