Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes. In fact, about 95% of people who have diabetes have type 2 diabetes. 

Insulin and beta-cell failure in type 2 diabetes

Insulin is a hormone made by the pancreas. (More specifically, insulin is made by special cells in the pancreas, called beta cells.) The pancreas releases insulin to help the body use sugar. Insulin helps move sugar from the bloodstream to the cells, where it is used as energy. When blood sugar levels rise, such as after meals, the pancreas releases more insulin. When blood sugar levels are low, the pancreas releases less insulin.

In type 2 diabetes, the body makes some insulin, but the body does not respond to it the way it used to. This is called insulin resistance. Having too much body fat can contribute to insulin resistance. As a result of insulin resistance, the body needs more insulin to work.

At first, the beta cells in the pancreas that produce insulin are able to keep up with the higher levels of blood sugar, and the pancreas churns out more insulin. But after a while, as more beta cells in the pancreas stop working, the pancreas is not able to keep up with the heavy demand and starts to give out, making less and less insulin until, in many people, it finally makes little to none.

As a result of this lower amount of insulin, the sugar stays in the bloodstream, where it builds up and becomes too high. When blood sugar stays high for a long time, there’s a greater risk of developing some diabetes-related problems, like problems with the eyes (diabetic retinopathy) and the nerves in places like the hands and feet (neuropathy). This is why it is so important to keep blood sugar under control.

People with type 2 diabetes need help controlling their blood sugar. The first things doctors usually suggest are diet, exercise, and often, non-insulin medications.  

Type 2 diabetes symptoms

People with type 2 diabetes may not show any symptoms at first, or symptoms can be mild. Symptoms of type 2 diabetes may include:

  • Increased thirst and hunger
  • Frequent urination
  • Blurry vision
  • Feeling very tired

People with type 2 diabetes may also have problems with:

  • Infections of the skin, gums, or frequent bladder infections
  • Scrapes or bruises healing slower than usual
  • Tingling or numbness in the limbs

What causes type 2 diabetes?

We don’t know exactly why, over time, the pancreas makes less and less insulin. But we do know that some people have a higher chance of developing type 2 diabetes than others. For example, three-fourths of all people with type 2 diabetes are, or have been, overweight. Other risk factors include not being physically active very often and having a family history of diabetes.

Type 2 diabetes treatment

It's important for people with this form of diabetes to watch portion sizes and try to make good food choices. Staying active and maintaining a healthy weight can also be very helpful. Doing these things may help you better control blood sugar.

Your treatment may have started with diabetes pills, like metformin. But as diabetes changes over time, and the pancreas stops producing enough insulin on its own, insulin injections may be needed. Around 30% to 40% of people with type 2 diabetes take insulin regularly by injection.

Basal and bolus insulin

In people without diabetes, the body releases insulin in 2 different ways. First, it releases insulin at a steady “basal” rate throughout the day and night so the body will have enough energy when you're not eating. This is called basal insulin.

In people without diabetes, the body also releases short bursts of insulin at mealtime to cover the spikes in blood sugar caused by food. This is called a "bolus" release of insulin.

NovoLog® Mix 70/30 is typically taken twice a day and works in 2 ways. It can help cover both the body's bolus needs at mealtime and the body's basal needs for up to 24 hours.

If you need help talking with your doctor about NovoLog® Mix 70/30 premix insulin, you can use our Doctor Discussion Guide to organize your thoughts.

Learn More About Insulin

Even if you take insulin, you might not know the full story. Learn about the insulin your body makes naturally and how today’s analog insulins, like NovoLog® Mix 70/30, are used to treat diabetes.

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Type 2 Diabetes and Insulin

Learn more about type 2 diabetes and the role insulin plays in your body with this helpful fact sheet from Cornerstones4Care®.

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