Pangea Nutrition Blog

What is Type 2 Diabetes?

Type 2 Diabetes is defined as impaired glucose (sugar) metabolism. Type 2 Diabetes can be diagnosed and measured using several blood tests, the simplest being a fasting blood test for blood sugar measurement. 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. 

How does someone develop type 2 diabetes?

Unlike type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes generally starts with resistance to the body’s insulin, the hormone that helps metabolize glucose. This leads to increased body requirements for insulin. Abnormal function of the islet cells in the pancreas, where insulin is produced, follows and is a key feature on type 2 diabetes. This causes abnormal production and response of the body to insulin. Abnormal processing of glucose leads to high circulating glucose levels, and thus diabetes.

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 years2, 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 2030.1,3

How is Type 2 Diabetes treated?

Similar to prevention, the first step to the treatment of type 2 diabetes is improving diet and lifestyle. Eating a healthy diet, losing weight and exercising for 30 minutes, five times per week can help make improvements to your health, including decreasing risk for diabetes. Medications may also be needed if lifestyle modification, including improving one’s diet, fails. Talk to your healthcare provider for more information.


  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).


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Posted by Jason Paruthi, MD