Type 2 Diabetes | Endocrinology and Diabetes

Endocrinology and Diabetes

Type 2 Diabetes

Our program offers everything you need to manage type 2 diabetes and feel your best. From nutritional support and insulin to more complex care, we can help.

Medically reviewed by Deborah Plante, M.D. on Nov. 28, 2023.

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What Is Type 2 Diabetes?

Nearly 38 million people in the U.S. have type 2 diabetes, and millions more are at risk of getting it.  This condition causes chronic (long-term) high blood sugar, which can damage your organs and body systems. Uncontrolled diabetes can lead to heart disease, stroke, vision loss and limb loss.

At UC Davis Health, you receive compassionate, leading-edge care for type 2 diabetes. U.S. News & World Report ranks our diabetes care among the top programs in the nation.


Type 2 Diabetes Symptoms

Many people have type 2 diabetes and don’t know it. They may not have symptoms, or the symptoms are so mild they don’t notice them.

If you have any symptoms of type 2 diabetes — even if they are not severe — contact your health care provider. The sooner you receive treatment for diabetes, the better your long-term health can be.

Common Symptoms

Type 2 diabetes symptoms develop slowly, over several years, making them hard to spot. Watch for:

  • Blurry vision
  • Fatigue
  • Increased hunger or thirst
  • Numbness or tingling in your hands or feet
  • Sores that do not heal
  • Urinating more often

Emergency Symptoms

Type 2 diabetes can cause life-threatening complications, including diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA).  If you experience symptoms of DKA, seek emergency medical care.

  • Confusion or inability to concentrate
  • Dry mouth
  • Extreme thirst
  • Extreme fatigue or weakness
  • Flushed skin
  • Fruity-smelling breath
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Rapid breathing

Causes and Risk Factors of Type 2 Diabetes

To understand type 2 diabetes, you need to know how blood glucose (blood sugar) and insulin normally work:

  1. After you eat or drink sugar or carbohydrates, glucose travels to your blood, causing your blood glucose levels to rise.
  2. Your pancreas (a gland in your abdomen) releases insulin, a hormone that moves glucose from your blood to your cells. Once in your cells, your body can use it as energy.
  3. Your cells recognize the insulin and respond by pulling glucose from your blood.
  4. Your blood glucose drops, and your pancreas stops releasing insulin.

Type 2 diabetes occurs when one of these situations happens:

  • Your cells stop responding to the insulin you have (insulin resistance).
  • Your pancreas cannot make enough insulin to keep up with your blood glucose levels.

Without insulin working in your cells, glucose cannot move out of your blood. Your cells don’t get the energy they need, and your blood glucose remains too high.

Anyone can develop type 2 diabetes. However, if you have one or more of these risk factors, you are more likely to develop the condition:


People over age 45 get type 2 diabetes more than younger people. However, children and young adults can develop it, too.

Body Weight

People who are overweight or obese have a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes. The risk may be even higher in people who have excess fat around the abdomen (belly).

Family History

Type 2 diabetes can run in families. If a parent or sibling has the condition, there’s a higher chance you will develop it, too.

Health Conditions

Heart disease , high blood pressure , high cholesterol, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and sleep apnea can increase your risk of getting type 2 diabetes.

Physical Inactivity

People who do not exercise at least three times each week have a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Race and Ethnicity

Type 2 diabetes affects African Americans, Asian Americans and Hispanic or Latino people more often than people of other races.


Diagnosing Type 2 Diabetes

Our diabetes program includes experienced specialists who provide accurate, timely diagnoses. We take the time to explain which tests you may need and what the results mean for your health.

Diagnosing type 2 diabetes requires one or more blood tests. These tests may include:

A1C test

This test measures your average blood sugar over the past three months. An A1C test looks at your hemoglobin, a protein in your blood that binds with glucose. People with prediabetes or type 2 diabetes have more glucose attached to their hemoglobin than people without these conditions.

Fasting blood sugar test

This test checks your blood sugar after not eating or drinking (except water) for eight to 12 hours.

Glucose tolerance test

For this test, your provider measures your blood sugar before and after you drink a sugary liquid.

Random glucose test

This test checks your blood sugar without fasting or any special preparation.

Type 2 Diabetes Treatments at UC Davis Health

At UC Davis Health, we are ranked among the top programs in the country for diabetes and endocrinology (medical field that specializes in diabetes care). Our diabetes clinics include teams of experts who work together to create comprehensive diabetes plans.

You have access to every specialist you need, from internal medicine physicians and endocrinologists to nutritionists, cardiologists and ophthalmologists (eye specialists). With the right care, you can live a long, healthy life with type 2 diabetes.

Blood Glucose Monitoring

We offer the latest glucose meters and continuous glucose monitors (CGMs) for accurate blood glucose measurements. We walk you through how to use your device and how often to check your glucose.

Diabetes Education

You have access to diabetes support and resources like health education classes and support groups. In them, you learn about diabetes and connect with others who understand the condition.


Some people need to take insulin to manage type 2 diabetes. Our providers find the best option for you, from injections (shots) to pumps that provide continuous insulin throughout the day.

Nutritional Counseling

Our registered dietitians specialize in caring for people with type 2 diabetes. We work with you to develop a diet plan that fits your lifestyle and preferences.


Preventing Type 2 Diabetes

Diabetes is a leading cause of disability and death in the U.S., but it is preventable.

About 96 million U.S. adults have prediabetes. Prediabetes is when your blood sugar is higher than normal, but not high enough to be diagnosed with diabetes. About 80% of people with prediabetes don’t know they have it.

Whether you have prediabetes or diabetes risk factors, you can prevent or delay type 2 diabetes if you:

Cut liquid calories

Drink water instead of soda, juice or other sweetened drinks.

Eat more healthy foods

Focus on fruits and vegetables instead of processed foods like crackers, chips and desserts.

Exercise more

Try walking or doing another physical activity you enjoy. Getting 30 minutes of movement, 5 days a week, lowers your type 2 diabetes risk.

Lose weight

Losing 5% to 7% of your body weight can prevent diabetes. You may be able to lose this amount by making diet changes and moving more. Talk to your health care provider if you need help creating a weight loss plan that works for you.

At UC Davis Health, we help you prevent type 2 diabetes through science-backed diet and exercise guidance. Our providers are here to help you establish health goals that benefit you now and for years to come.

We also offer diabetes prevention classes that empower you to take charge of your well-being. Learn more about our Preventing Diabetes Living Healthy class.

"National Diabetes Statistics Report," Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/data/statistics-report/index.html

"Hispanic or Latino People and Type 2 Diabetes," CDC, https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/library/features/hispanic-diabetes.html

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Diabetes Clinic Locations

We offer diabetes diagnosis and treatment at four of our clinics throughout the Sacramento region.

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