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What is adult-onset diabetes?

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
Adult-onset diabetes and non-insulin-dependent diabetes are names that used to be used for type 2 diabetes. Watch the video to learn more about type 2 diabetes.


Adult-onset diabetes is a name formerly used for type 2 diabetes. In the past, this type of diabetes was most common in adults and rarely occurred in children or teenagers. That has changed as more and more children and teens have become overweight, a risk factor for type 2 diabetes.

Adult-onset or type 2 diabetes causes high blood sugar (glucose) levels. This happens when cells become resistant to the effects of insulin in the body or when the pancreas slows down its production of this hormone. You need insulin for glucose (created when foods such as carbohydrates are broken down during digestion) to be moved from the bloodstream into the cells, where it can be used for energy. Without insulin, the glucose builds up in the blood and causes damage throughout the body.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.