Progression to Type 2 Diabetes

The pancreas of a person with type 2 diabetes generates insulin, but the body is unable to process it in sufficient amounts to control blood sugar levels. This is due to a problem with how the body's cells — specifically the insulin receptors that attract and process the hormone — recognize and use insulin. As blood glucose levels rise, the pancreas pumps out more and more insulin to try and compensate.

This may bring down blood sugar levels to a degree, but also results in high levels of circulating insulin, a condition known as hyperinsulinemia. At a certain threshold, the weakened pancreas cannot produce enough insulin; and over time beta cell mass is lost, reducing insulin secretion. At this point, type 2 diabetes results.

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