Diabetes is a group of metabolic conditions in which blood glucose is elevated above normal levels. It can be caused by decreased insulin production, the body’s improper response to insulin (referred to as insulin resistance), or a combination of both. Insulin is a hormone that helps the body turn sugar into energy. Changes in insulin levels lead to increased blood sugar, which can eventually lead to complications. 

There are several types of diabetes, and there are significant differences between them:

  • Type 1 Diabetes : An auto-immune condition in which the pancreas loses the ability to produce insulin. It is always treated with insulin injections.
  • Type 2 Diabetes: The most common type of diabetes, caused by both a progressive decrease in insulin production over time and insulin resistance.
  • Gestational Diabetes: A form of diabetes that occurs during pregnancy, when hormones cause increased blood sugar levels.
  • Maturity Onset Diabetes of the Young (MODY): A rare form of diabetes that is hereditary, and caused by a gene mutation.

Risk Factors for Diabetes

Determining the risk for diabetes requires information involving both genetics and your everyday lifestyle. Some of the factors that can be looked at to determine your risk include:

  • Family history
  • Age
  • Ethnicity
  • Weight
  • Activity level
  • Previous illness or infection

Diabetes Care

While most patients with type 2 diabetes do well in the care of their primary care physician, when your primary care physician feels you need specialty care, they can refer you to the division of endocrinology. Your endocrinologist will lead a team of certified diabetes educators and nurse practitioners who work together to develop a treatment plan for you. This will include diabetes education, diet and weight management, access to the newest technology for monitoring your diabetes and the latest available therapies. NorthShore also has physicians in specialties such as ophthalmology, neurology and nephrology who can address any specific complications you may have or develop.

Diabetes Research and Innovation

Our physicians and educators are able to provide the most innovative technology for those patients for whom it is determined that insulin pump therapy or continuous glucose monitoring is necessary. Our diabetes educators will show you how to use your device, as well as read the data. You will also be able to share this information with your care team from home. This allows you to be in control and knowledgeable about your diabetes, making it easier for your treatment plan to be a part of your lifestyle.

The NorthShore diabetes research team also participates in ongoing clinical trials of new medications and technology. You may enroll in our Diabetes Research Registry, which is open to anyone with diabetes. The registry provides the latest news and reports in diabetes care, as well as updates on new research studies you may be interested in participating in. 

For More Information

For more information about diabetes, please call 847.663.8540