What you need to know about type 3 diabetes

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When we hear “diabetes,” we typically think of Type 1 and Type 2—conditions related to how our body manages blood sugar. However, there’s growing chatter around a less familiar term: Type 3 diabetes.

This concept, emerging in medical research, points toward a connection between sugar metabolism and brain health, specifically Alzheimer’s disease.

This review unpacks the causes, symptoms, treatments, and how it compares to other types of diabetes, all in straightforward language.

The Concept Behind Type 3 Diabetes

Type 3 diabetes is a proposed term that links insulin resistance and Alzheimer’s disease. Insulin is a hormone that helps your body use or store the sugar (glucose) it gets from food.

In Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes, insulin issues lead to high blood sugar levels, affecting the body’s organs over time. Researchers now believe that similar insulin-related problems in the brain could contribute to Alzheimer’s, suggesting why some are calling Alzheimer’s “Type 3 diabetes.”

Causes and How It Happens

The brain, like the rest of the body, relies on glucose for energy. For it to use glucose, insulin is crucial. However, in Alzheimer’s, the brain’s ability to use insulin efficiently is compromised, leading to what some researchers describe as “brain diabetes.”

The theory is that insulin resistance in the brain disrupts its cells’ ability to use glucose, impairing cognitive functions and potentially leading to the buildup of beta-amyloid plaques—a hallmark of Alzheimer’s.

Symptoms to Watch For

Since Type 3 diabetes is a concept rather than a distinct diagnosis, its “symptoms” largely overlap with those of Alzheimer’s disease.

This includes memory loss, confusion, changes in behavior or thinking patterns, and difficulty with language or problem-solving. These symptoms usually develop slowly and get worse over time, reflecting the progressive nature of Alzheimer’s.

Treatment Options

Currently, there’s no cure for Alzheimer’s disease, and by extension, the idea of treating Type 3 diabetes focuses on managing symptoms and slowing the progression of cognitive decline.

This may include medications approved for Alzheimer’s, lifestyle changes to support brain health (like diet, exercise, and cognitive training), and managing other health conditions that could worsen cognitive impairment, such as Type 2 diabetes or heart disease.

Comparing Types of Diabetes

Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune condition where the body attacks insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. Type 2 diabetes, the most common form, involves the body’s ineffective use of insulin, often related to obesity, lifestyle, and genetic factors.

Type 3 diabetes, while not officially recognized as a distinct type by the medical community, suggests a similar issue of insulin resistance but localized to the brain, affecting cognitive function rather than blood sugar control directly.

The Research Evidence

The idea of Type 3 diabetes is based on observations of decreased insulin activity in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients and studies showing how diabetes increases Alzheimer’s risk.

However, this field of research is still developing, with scientists exploring how exactly insulin resistance and glucose metabolism in the brain contribute to Alzheimer’s.

In conclusion, while the term “Type 3 diabetes” might not be widely used in your doctor’s office yet, the research behind it highlights an important aspect of Alzheimer’s disease.

It underscores the need for a holistic approach to health, recognizing how conditions like diabetes can impact our bodies in unexpected ways, including our brain health.

As our understanding of these connections grows, it could pave the way for new treatments and preventive measures for Alzheimer’s, making the concept of Type 3 diabetes a crucial area of ongoing research.

If you care about diabetes, please read studies that pomace olive oil could help lower blood cholesterol, and honey could help control blood sugar.

For more information about diabetes, please see recent studies about Vitamin D that may reduce dangerous complications in diabetes and results showing plant-based protein foods may help reverse type 2 diabetes.

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