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California State University, Long Beach
Health Resource Center, Student Health Services
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Type II Diabetes is the most common form of diabetes. It occurs when the body does not produce enough insulin, or the cells ignore the insulin.

Insulin is necessary for the body to be able to use sugar (glucose), which is the basic fuel for the body’s cells.

Insulin takes sugar from the blood stream and into the cells. Without insulin, the cells do not get the sugar they need to function, and the sugar stays in the bloodstream.

When sugar builds in the bloodstream instead of going into cells, it causes two problems:

  • Cells are starved for energy
  • High blood sugar levels can damage the eyes, kidneys, nerves, and heart.


  • Frequent urination
  • Excessive thirst
  • Extreme hunger
  • Unusual weight loss
  • Increased fatigue
  • Irritability
  • Blurred vision
  • Changes in vision


Heart disease and stroke

Diabetes causes an increased risk for heart attack, stroke, and complications related to poor circulation.

Kidney Disease

Diabetes can lead to kidney failure, which means the kidneys will no longer be able to filter waste out of the body.

Eye Complications

Diabetes can cause eye problems and may lead to blindness. Early detection and treatment of eye problems can save your sight.

Diabetic Neuropathy and Nerve Damage

Nerve damage is one of the most common complications of diabetes. Neuropathy is damage to the nerves throughout the body.

Foot Complications

People with diabetes can develop different foot problems. The most common cause of this is nerve damage in the feet, and blood flow is poor.


A condition in which the stomach takes too long to empty its contents. It happens when nerves to the stomach are damaged or stop working.


In most cases, before people are diagnosed with Type II Diabetes, they often have pre-diabetes. Pre- diabetes is when blood sugar levels are higher than normal, but not high enough to be diagnosed with diabetes.

Pre-diabetes occurs when fasting blood glucose is more than 100 mg/dl, but less than 126 mg/dl. Diabetes is diagnosed when fasting blood sugar is 126 mg/dl or more.

Are You at Risk?

If someone in your family, such as a parent or sibling has diabetes, you could be at a greater risk than someone with no family history. Risk factors include:

  • Being overweight or obese
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Diet high in fat and added sugars
  • Diet low in whole grains, fruits, and vegetables
  • Family history of diabetes
  • Hypertension (High Blood Pressure)
  • Low High-Density Lipoprotein (“Good” Cholesterol)
  • High Low-Density Lipoprotein (“Bad” Cholesterol)
  • High Triglycerides


A healthy lifestyle can help reduce your risk of developing type II diabetes. A healthy diet that is low in fat and added sugars and high in fiber can help reduce your risk. Examples of these foods include dark leafy green vegetables, fruit, lean meats, beans, and whole grains.

An active lifestyle is also an important factor in reducing your risk for diabetes. Adults should aim for 30-60 minutes of activity each day.


American Diabetes Association

National Institute of Health

National Diabetes Information Clearing House

U.S. Centers for Disease Control