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 - Northwestern Memorial Hospital - Chicago


There are a number of types of diabetes. Type 1 and Type 2 are chronic conditions, which means they will need to be managed for life. Gestational diabetes and pre-diabetes are potentially reversible conditions, which means they could go away as you take steps to eat healthy and increase physical activity.

Chronic Diabetes Conditions

Type 1 Diabetes

Type 1 diabetes occurs when the cells that produce insulin are damaged. When these cells are damaged, they produce little or no insulin. That leads to the body’s inability to convert sugar into energy. Insulin is needed to keep your blood sugar in balance. Without it, sugar stays in your body and you end up with high blood sugar.

Type 1 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes in people under the age of 20, but it can occur at any age. People who have Type 1 diabetes MUST take insulin injections to control their blood sugar.

Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 diabetes occurs when the body doesn’t produce enough insulin or the insulin that it does produce doesn’t work properly in the body. When there isn’t enough insulin in the body or it doesn’t work as it should, the body cannot properly convert sugar into energy. This type of diabetes is often preventable by maintaining a healthy weight, eating a well-balanced diet, and exercising regularly.

Type 2 diabetes is most common in people over the age of 45 who are also overweight. However, it is becoming more and more common in young adults and children. Learn more about pediatric diabetes by visiting Children's Memorial Hospital's website.

Potentially Reversible Diabetic Conditions Caused by High Blood Sugar


Prediabetes is a condition in which the blood sugar levels are higher than normal, but not high enough to be considered diabetes. Studies show that most people with prediabetes will develop diabetes within 10 years if they don't do something to control their blood sugar.

Gestational Diabetes

Gestational diabetes is a type of diabetes that can occur during pregnancy.

Other Causes of High Blood Sugar

There are other causes of high blood sugar, some of which are temporary, such as:

  • Effects of surgery foods or drinks
  • Use of certain medications
  • Various illnesses


If you would like to schedule an appointment with an endocrinologist at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, you may call the Physician Referral Service at 1-877-926-4664 or request a first time appointment online.

Last UpdateAugust 4, 2011


To make an appointment with a physician, please call 1-877-926-4664.

New patients can request an appointment online.