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Causes of type 2 diabetes

Type 2 diabetes is caused by the body not making enough insulin or not being able to use it well enough to help turn food into energy.

The pancreas is an organ behind the stomach that makes the hormone insulin. Type 2 diabetes happens when this is not producing enough insulin to regulate blood sugar (glucose) levels, or the person is not able to use insulin effectively, called insulin resistance.

It isn't clear why the pancreas doesn't work as well as it should for some people, or why a person develops insulin resistance.

However, doctors do know these changes are more likely for people with certain risk factors.

The main ones are:

  • Your age (over 40)
  • Close family history of diabetes
  • Being overweight or obese with a body mass index (BMI) over 30
  • Having south Asian, Chinese, African-Caribbean or black African ethnic origins

Other risks are linked to these main factors, including not taking enough exercise and eating an unhealthy diet, which in turn can cause people to put on weight.

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WebMD Medical Reference

Medically Reviewed by Dr Rob Hicks on October 17, 2017

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