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Are Adult-Onset Diabetes and Type 2 Diabetes Different?

A friend of mine was recently diagnosed with what she called "adult-onset diabetes." I wasn't familiar with this term. What's the difference between adult-onset diabetes and type 2 diabetes? Are they two different conditions?

Answer

Adult-onset diabetes is an older term for type 2 diabetes. Another older term for type 2 diabetes is noninsulin-dependent diabetes. In type 2 diabetes, the cells of the body become less sensitive to insulin, a hormone that is needed for the cells to transfer the sugar in the blood into the cells so it can be converted into energy.
 
Previously, if an adult was diagnosed with diabetes, it was usually type 2, and if a child had diabetes, it was usually type 1. Increasingly, more and more children are being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, making the name "adult-onset diabetes" inaccurate. Also, people with type 2 diabetes sometimes need insulin to control their blood sugar, so "noninsulin-dependent diabetes" is also an inaccurate term.
 
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