CausesBy Mayo Clinic staff
Type 2 diabetes develops when the body becomes resistant to insulin or when the pancreas stops producing enough insulin. Exactly why this happens is unknown, although excess weight, inactivity and genetic factors seem to be important.
Insulin: The key for sugar
Insulin is a hormone that comes from the pancreas, a gland located just behind the stomach. When your child eats, the pancreas secretes insulin into the bloodstream. As insulin circulates, it acts like a key by unlocking microscopic doors that allow sugar to enter your child's cells. Insulin lowers the amount of sugar in your child's bloodstream. As your child's blood sugar level drops, so does the secretion of insulin from the pancreas.
Glucose: The energy source
Glucose — sugar — is a main source of energy for the cells that make up muscles and other tissues. Glucose comes from two major sources: the food your child eats and your child's liver. During digestion, sugar is absorbed into the bloodstream. Normally, sugar then enters cells with the help of insulin.
Liver: Production and storage
The liver acts as a glucose storage and manufacturing center. When your child's insulin levels are low — when your child hasn't eaten in a while, for example — the liver releases the stored glucose to keep your child's glucose level within a normal range.
In type 2 diabetes, this process doesn't work well. Instead of moving into your child's cells, sugar builds up in his or her bloodstream. This occurs when your child's pancreas doesn't make enough insulin or your child's cells become resistant to the action of insulin.
- Rosenbloom AL, et al. ISPAD clinical practice consensus guidelines 2009 compendium — Type 2 diabetes in children and adolescents. Pediatric Diabetes. 2009;10(suppl):17.
- Your guide to diabetes: Type 1 and type 2. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. http://diabetes.niddk.nih.gov/dm/pubs/type1and2/. Accessed Jan. 10, 2011.
- Diabetes mellitus. The Merck Manuals: The Merck Manual for Healthcare Professionals. http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/sec12/ch158/ch158b.html#sec12-ch158-ch158b-1105. Accessed Jan. 13, 2011.
- Standards of medical care in diabetes — 2011. Diabetes Care. 2011;34(suppl):1.
- Simms-Robinson C, et al. How does diabetes accelerate Alzheimer disease pathology? Nature Reviews: Neurology. 2010;6:551.
- Laffel L, et al. Management of type 2 diabetes mellitus in children and adolescents. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.htm. Accessed Jan. 19, 2011.
- Ketoacidosis. American Diabetes Association. http://www.diabetes.org/type-1-diabetes/ketoacidosis.jsp. Accessed Jan. 14, 2011.
- Natural Medicines in the Clinical Management of Diabetes. Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database. http://www.naturaldatabase.com. Accessed Dec. 2, 2010.
- Shapiro S, et al. The role of complementary and alternative therapies in pediatric diabetes. Endocrinology and Metabolism Clinics of North America. 2009;38:791.
- Copeland K, et al. Management of newly diagnosed type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) in children and adolescents. Pediatrics. 2013;131:364.