Your pancreas makes a hormone called insulin. It helps your cells turn glucose, a type of sugar, from the food you eat into energy. People with type 2 diabetes make insulin, but their cells don’t use it as well as they should.

At first, your pancreas makes more insulin to try to get glucose into your cells. But eventually, it can’t keep up, and the glucose builds up in your bloodinstead.

Usually, a combination of things causes type 2 diabetes. They might include:

  • Genes. Scientists have found different bits of DNA that affect how your body makes insulin.
  • Extra weight. Being overweight or obese can cause insulin resistance, especially if you carry your extra pounds around your middle.
  • Metabolic syndrome. People with insulin resistance often have a group of conditions including high blood sugar, extra fat around the waist, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol and triglycerides.
  • Too much glucose from your liver. When your blood sugar is low, your liver makes and sends out glucose. After you eat, your blood sugar goes up, and your liver will usually slow down and store its glucose for later. But some people’s livers don’t. They keep cranking out sugar.
  • Bad communication between cells.Sometimes, cells send the wrong signals or don’t pick up messages correctly. When these problems affect how your cells make and use insulin or glucose, a chain reaction can lead to diabetes.
  • Broken beta cells. If the cells that make insulin send out the wrong amount of insulin at the wrong time, your blood sugar gets thrown off. High blood sugar can damage these cells, too.