Diabetes type 2

Diabetes type 2

What causes type 2 diabetes

Diabetes belongs to the group of metabolic diseases characterized by hyperglycemia, i.e. too high blood glucose (sugar) concentration resulting from a defect in insulin secretion and / or action. Insulin is a hormone that is secreted by the beta cells in pancreatic islets. The consequence of untreated disease and persistent hyperglycemia may be e.g. damage, impaired function and performance of eyes, kidneys, nerves, heart and blood vessels.

Type 2 diabetes (in Latin: diabetes mellitus typi 2), previously also called non-insulin dependent diabetes mellitus, NIDDM, is a metabolic disease that is characterized by the resistance of tissues to insulin. This means that your body produces insulin, but adipose tissue does not allow it to function properly, and therefore your blood glucose level remains high.

It is assumed that type 2 diabetes accounts for 85-90% of all cases of the disease. The number of cases of diabetes has increased by as much as 7-10 times in the last 50 years. According to the data published by the International Diabetes Federation (IDF), currently over 425 million people worldwide suffer from diabetes! Type 2 diabetes is therefore a real and big issue, not only for medical reasons but it also poses economic and social problems (1). 

What causes type 2 diabetes

Diabetes type 2: why me?

You’ve probably asked yourself this question many times: Why? Where did it come from? Why did I get diabetes and not someone else? Many people wonder:

Can type 2 diabetes be prevented?

It should be emphasized that the increasing incidence of type 2 diabetes is a global epidemic and is closely linked to the epidemic of obesity and an unhealthy lifestyle.

The dominant mechanism that leads to the development of type 2 diabetes is insulin resistance – a phenomenon that is associated with the inability of the body to respond properly to insulin. It mainly results from the lack of sensitivity of the tissues in your body to this hormone. In this case, the body’s ability to produce insulin is not completely inhibited.

The symptoms of diabetes type 2

The onset of type 2 diabetes is most often discrete, and metabolic disorders can develop several years before this particular type is diagnosed. Clinical symptoms associated with high sugar levels usually increase slowly over several months. Type 2 diabetes symptoms can vary widely and often go unnoticed. The most common symptoms include (2):

  • dry mouth and the feeling of thirst
  • frequent urination
  • genital or vaginal infections

Type 2 diabetes: diet

Diet in type 2 diabetes – The first thoughts on that topic are usually quite negative. It is quite common to think that the only things you can eat are cooked meat, steamed vegetables, and no sweets. 

It’s not true.

The type 2 diabetes diet is not reserved for diabetics only. It is based on the principles of a rational diet designed for every person (also without diabetes) who wants to live a healthy and long life. Indeed, it is an extremely important part of diabetes management and will probably require you to change some eating habits, but as such they are recommended to any healthy non-diabetic person. You can read more about the diet in a separate article.

Type 2 diabetes diet

Type 2 diabetes: why diet and physical activity are important?

Genetic predisposition combined e.g. with excess weight, which results in insulin resistance, cause dysfunction of insulin secretion in relation to the growing needs of the body, which results in carbohydrate disorders. Hence, we can talk about a certain genetic predisposition to the development of this disease, but whether it manifests itself depends primarily on our lifestyle, especially the diet and level of physical activity.

Lifestyle is crucial in the development of type 2 diabetes, some even claim that it is conditioned by a diabetogenic lifestyle. Unsurprisingly, it is more widespread in cities, where people lead a more sedentary lifestyle, unlike rural areas where they are more active.

That is why a change in lifestyle, introducing moderate physical effort, or building up muscle tissue with the loss of excess body fat, is associated with a reduced risk of developing type 2 diabetes.


  1. IDF Diabetes Atlas – 8th Edition. International Diabetes Federation, 2017.
  2. Standards of Medical Care in Diabetes—2019. American Diabetes Association.
AUTHOR Anita Rogowicz-Frontczak


Diabetologist, endocrinologist, specialised in internal medicine. Assistant professor at the Department of Internal Medicine and Diabetology at the Poznań University of Medical Sciences. Author of scientific publications in diabetology and endocrinology.

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