What Age Does Type 2 Diabetes Usually Start?

Reviewed on 6/7/2022
Smiling senior man with type 2 diabetes sitting on a couch
Type 2 diabetes can start in anyone at any age, but people who are age 45 or older are at a higher risk of developing the condition.

Type 2 diabetes is a metabolic disorder that occurs when the body produces insufficient amounts of insulin or doesn’t use insulin properly, causing blood sugar (glucose) levels to rise (hyperglycemia).

  • Glucose is the body’s primary source of energy.
  • The pancreas produces insulin, a hormone that helps convert glucose from the foods you eat into energy your body uses. 

Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is not the same as type 1 diabetes (previously called juvenile diabetes), a condition in which little to no insulin is produced by the pancreas.

Type 2 diabetes can start in anyone at any age, but people who are age 45 or older are at a higher risk of developing the condition. 

Other risk factors for developing type 2 diabetes include: 

What Are Symptoms of Diabetes?

Symptoms of diabetes include:

  • Increased urination
  • Increased thirst 
  • Increased hunger
  • Wounds that do not heal
  • Fatigue
  • Frequent infections
  • Blurred vision
  • Darkened skin, often in the armpits and neck
  • Numbness, tingling, or pain in the feet or hands (more common in type 2)

How Is Diabetes Diagnosed?

Diabetes is diagnosed with a patient’s history, a physical examination, and tests including: 

  • A1C test 
  • Fasting plasma glucose (FPG) test 
  • Glucose challenge test
  • Random plasma glucose (RPG) test 
  • Oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT)

What Is the Treatment for Type 2 Diabetes?

The first line treatment for type 2 diabetes usually involves lifestyle changes. 

Lifestyle changes to manage diabetes include:

  • Manage A1C (average blood glucose level over the past 3 months)
  • Take prescribed diabetes medications 
  • Check blood glucose levels daily
  • Follow a diabetes meal plan as recommended by your doctor or nutritionist
  • Maintain healthy cholesterol levels
  • Keep blood pressure in check
  • Don’t smoke
  • Exercise regularly 
  • Get adequate sleep
  • Practice stress management techniques 

If lifestyle changes are not enough to manage type 2 diabetes, medications may be needed, such as:

  • Insulin 
  • Meglitinides 
  • DPP- 4 Inhibitors 
  • Sulfonylureas 
  • SGLT2 inhibitors 
  • GLP-1 receptor agonists 
  • Biguanides 
  • Alpha-glucosidase inhibitors 
  • Thiazolidinediones 
  • Dopamine receptor agonists 
  • Bile acid sequestrants 
  • Amylin analog 
  • Combination medicines, which may be made up of more than one medication in the above classes

Other treatments for diabetes may include: 

  • Weight-loss surgery (bariatric surgery) for some patients who are obese
  • Artificial pancreas 


Type 2 Diabetes: Signs, Symptoms, Treatments See Slideshow

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Reviewed on 6/7/2022
Image Source: iStock Images