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Type 2 Diabetes Causes

It is not yet clear what causes type 2 diabetes, but more is being learned about the disease every year. What is clear is that type 2 diabetes – the most common form of diabetes – typically occurs in adults whose bodies either become resistant to the effects of insulin or do not produce enough insulin. Insulin is a hormone that is essential to the body’s energy production, as it allows glucose, which is a primary energy source, to enter the cells. If not properly managed, the improper production of or resistance to this hormone can result in serious long-term health complications, such as heart disease and nerve damage.

Although no single cause of type 2 diabetes has been found, the disease has been linked to certain risk factors, some of which can be controlled through lifestyle changes. These risk factors include:

  • Weight – Obesity is a primary risk factor because the more fatty tissue a person has, the more resistant cells become to insulin.
  • Activity level – Being physically active helps to maintain a healthy weight, uses up the body’s glucose, and makes cells more sensitive to insulin. A sedentary lifestyle is a leading risk factor in developing type 2 diabetes.
  • Genetics – People with parents or siblings with type 2 diabetes are at an increased risk of developing the disease.
  • Age – The risk of developing type 2 diabetes increases with age.
  • Gestational diabetes – Women who develop gestational diabetes when pregnant are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes.

Individuals who have been diagnosed with or suspect they may have type 2 diabetes can turn to Tampa General Hospital’s physicians for leading diagnostic and treatment services. In 2021-2022, TGH has been recognized as one of the nation's best hospitals and highest ranked in Florida for Diabetes & Endocrinology by U.S. News & World Report thanks to our highly individualized approach to care. Our patients are treated by a multispecialty team that includes physicians, endocrinologists, and other specialists who can help patients live full, healthy lives by alleviating their symptoms and reducing the likelihood of complications that type 2 diabetes causes. To find a physician who can help treat diabetes, click here.