SynopsisCodesLook ForDiagnostic PearlsDifferential Diagnosis & PitfallsBest TestsManagement PearlsTherapyDrug Reaction DataReferences

Information for Patients

Diabetes mellitus type 2
Other Resources UpToDate PubMed

Diabetes mellitus type 2

Contributors: David Brodell MD, Paritosh Prasad MD, Lowell A. Goldsmith MD, MPH
Other Resources UpToDate PubMed


Type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) is characterized by hyperglycemia secondary to increased insulin resistance, inadequate production of insulin to meet metabolic demand, increased hepatic glucose production, and atypical fat metabolism. In T2DM, insulin resistance may be rooted in genetics and obesity. Initially, insulin secretion increases to compensate for worsening insulin resistance. But over time, increased insulin production cannot compensate for insulin resistance.

Patients may initially present with symptoms of hyperglycemia such as blurred vision, vulvovaginitis, pruritus, and peripheral neuropathy, as well as recurrent yeast infections. If insulin deficiency is more severe, fatigue / weakness, polyuria, polydipsia, and sometimes weight loss may present as symptoms. Diabetic ketoacidosis is rare. Some patients are relatively asymptomatic until chronic complications of diabetes develop. Prior to the initial diagnosis, all patients develop impaired glucose tolerance or impaired fasting glucose.

T2DM is commonly associated with obesity, including childhood obesity, increased waist circumference, cardiovascular disease, end-stage renal disease, adult blindness, and nontraumatic lower extremity amputations, among other problems. Onset in youth is associated with a progressive increase in risk of complications over time, including microvascular complications. T2DM of more than 10 years' duration may increase the risk of dementia.

T2DM has a strong genetic component and tends to disproportionately affect older populations, individuals with a high body mass index (BMI), and individuals of African, Hispanic, American Indian, and Asian descent.

A large review of US Department of Veterans Affairs patient records suggests that individuals infected with SARS-CoV-2 were at greater risk of developing T2DM within a year, even those with mild or asymptomatic infection, although risk increased with severity of illness.

Related topics: bullosis diabeticorum, diabetes mellitus type 1diabetic dermopathy, diabetic hyperosmolar syndrome, diabetic nephropathy, diabetic neuropathy, diabetic retinopathymaturity-onset diabetes of the young (MODY), neurogenic ulcer


E11.9 – Type 2 diabetes mellitus without complications

44054006 – Diabetes mellitus type 2

Look For

Subscription Required

Diagnostic Pearls

Subscription Required

Differential Diagnosis & Pitfalls

To perform a comparison, select diagnoses from the classic differential

Subscription Required

Best Tests

Subscription Required

Management Pearls

Subscription Required


Subscription Required

Drug Reaction Data

Subscription Required


Subscription Required

Last Reviewed:06/12/2022
Last Updated:05/10/2022
Copyright © 2024 VisualDx®. All rights reserved.
Patient Information for Diabetes mellitus type 2
Print E-Mail Images (1)
Contributors: Medical staff writer
Premium Feature
VisualDx Patient Handouts
Available in the Elite package
  • Improve treatment compliance
  • Reduce after-hours questions
  • Increase patient engagement and satisfaction
  • Written in clear, easy-to-understand language. No confusing jargon.
  • Available in English and Spanish
  • Print out or email directly to your patient
Copyright © 2024 VisualDx®. All rights reserved.
Diabetes mellitus type 2
A medical illustration showing key findings of Diabetes mellitus type 2 : Blurred vision, Fatigue, Hyperglycemia, Neuropathy peripheral, Polyuria, Polydipsia, Pruritus, Weakness
Copyright © 2024 VisualDx®. All rights reserved.