Alzheimer’s disease is a type of progressive dementia that is frequently referred to as type 3 diabetes (type 3c diabetes). There have been strong similarities drawn between the two disorders, with the most recent finding suggesting that dementia may be induced by a sort of insulin resistance that occurs exclusively in the brain.
According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), diabetes or prediabetes is the second leading cause of Alzheimer’s disease, after senior age. Although a tiny number of research has revealed a link between type 1 diabetes and an increased risk of dementia, the vast majority of investigations have determined that the link between diabetes and Alzheimer’s is exclusive to type 2 diabetes.
However, defining Alzheimer’s disease like type 3 diabetes is contentious, and many doctors are hesitant to recognize type 3 diabetes as a medical diagnosis until an additional study is conducted. This article in HealthoWealth will look at every aspect of type 3 diabetes.
The Connection between Alzheimer’s and Diabetes
According to studies, those with diabetes have a 65 percent higher risk of getting Alzheimer’s disease than those without diabetes. With such a strong correlation, researchers have concentrated their efforts on elucidating the link between the two diseases.
The cells that make insulin, known as beta cells, are targeted by the body’s immune system in type 1 diabetes, causing glucose to build up to dangerously high levels in the bloodstream.
Insulin becomes less responsive to glucose (sugar) and hence less effective at removing it from the bloodstream, allowing it to build up instead of being absorbed into the cells to be used for energy.
In Alzheimer’s disease, it appears that a similar problem of insulin resistance exists, but the effects are concentrated in the brain rather than impacting the entire body.
Researchers have discovered that the brains of patients with Alzheimer’s disease but neither type 1 nor type 2 diabetes displayed many of the same abnormalities as the brains of those with diabetes, including low insulin levels in the brain, in post-mortem tests. This discovery led to the hypothesis that Alzheimer’s disease is a brain-specific kind of diabetes known as “type 3 diabetes.”
When a person’s blood sugar levels rise or fall too high or too low, the body gives out visible warning signs, such as behavioral changes, confusion, and seizures. Rather than those immediate signals, the brain’s function and structure deteriorate over time in Alzheimer’s disease.
When a team of researchers looked through the various studies on Alzheimer’s disease and brain function, they discovered that impairment of the brain’s ability to utilize and metabolize glucose was a frequent conclusion. They linked the drop in glucose processing to cognitive capacity and found that it coincided with, or even preceded, cognitive losses such as memory loss, trouble locating words, behavioral abnormalities, and more.
Furthermore, scientists discovered that as insulin activity in the brain deteriorates, not only does cognitive ability deteriorate, but so does the size and structure of the brain—all of which are typical symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease.
As a result, the phrase “type 3 diabetes” is used in two contexts: to identify a specific type of diabetes that only affects the brain, and to characterize the progression of type 2 diabetes into Alzheimer’s disease.
Type 3 Diabetes Symptoms
The signs of type 3 diabetes are quite similar to the symptoms of early dementia, which include the following, according to the Alzheimer’s Association:
- Difficulty executing actions that were once routine, such as driving to the shop.
- Memory loss that causes problems in everyday life
- Planning or problem-solving difficulties
- Confusion over the passage of time or the location of an event
- Reading or balance problems, for example, can make it difficult to interpret visual imagery or spatial relationships.
- Joining or following discussions, as well as speaking/writing, can be difficult.
- Misplacing items frequently and being unable to retrace your ways
- Mood swings or personality shifts
Type 3 Diabetes Causes
Researchers have been trying to figure out what causes Alzheimer’s disease for decades. According to some studies, diabetes may exacerbate and contribute to the development of Alzheimer’s disease, but it is unlikely to be the main cause.
Diabetes problems, on the other hand, are known to have an impact on brain health by:
- Increasing the risk of heart disease and stroke, which can result in damaged blood vessels, obstructing blood flow to the brain, and causing dementia.
- An excess of insulin may affect the amount or status of other neurochemicals reaching the brain, resulting in an imbalance that could lead to Alzheimer’s disease.
- As a result of the elevated blood sugar, inflammation develops, which can damage brain cells and promote Alzheimer’s disease.
Type 3 Diabetes Risk Factors
Having type 2 diabetes is the most important risk factor for acquiring type 3 diabetes. The following are some of the risk factors for acquiring type 2 diabetes, according to studies:
- Diabetes or metabolic syndrome in the family
- Over 45 years old
- Blood pressure that is too high (hypertension)
- Obesity or excess body weight
- Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS)
- Low levels of physical activity
Type 3 Diabetes Diagnosis
Although there is no specific test for type 3 diabetes, clinicians will look for indicators of Alzheimer’s disease as well as diabetes symptoms.
- A doctor will do the following to diagnose Alzheimer’s disease:
- Take a comprehensive medical history.
- Inquire about your family’s history of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
- Examine your neurological system.
- Conduct neurophysiological tests.
Recommend imaging tests, such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), which can provide visual evidence of how the brain is functioning, as well as looking for amyloid plaques, which are clusters of a protein called beta-amyloid and are associated with Alzheimer’s disease.
If you have type 2 diabetes symptoms, your doctor may order a fasting or random glucose test as well as a hemoglobin A1C (Hb A1C) test to see how effectively your blood sugar is managed.
Type 3 Diabetes Treatment
If you have both type 2 diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease, your doctor may offer a diabetic treatment plan to assist you to manage your blood sugar levels.
The following are some of the most common treatments for type 2 diabetes:
- Weight loss, dietary changes, and exercise are examples of lifestyle changes.
- Sulfonylureas, glucagon-like peptides, biguanides like metformin, and other medicines are used to treat diabetes.
- Supplemental insulin is only used when lifestyle changes and other first-line medications have failed.
- Hb A1C testing and blood sugar monitoring on a regular basis.
Diabetes treatments like metformin and glucagon-like peptides have the potential to slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. These drugs have been proven to enhance sensitivity to insulin in animal and human tests, which may guard against the structural abnormalities that arise in Alzheimer’s disease, improve the brain’s ability to metabolize glucose, and improve cognitive functioning in some circumstances.
Alzheimer’s disease has eluded pharmaceutical treatment. While there are a number of prescription drugs available to treat Alzheimer’s symptoms, their efficacy is still being debated.
Many persons with Alzheimer’s disease have low levels of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter. Cholinesterase inhibitors, such as Aricept and Adlarity (donepezil), Razadyne (galantamine), and Exelon (rivastigmine), may aid by keeping acetylcholine levels in the brain stable.
An NMDA-receptor antagonist, Namenda (memantine), has been demonstrated to slow the course of the disease and is usually used in conjunction with a cholinesterase inhibitor.
Depression, which is frequent in the early stages of Alzheimer’s, is often treated with selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) such as Prozac (fluoxetine).
Medication for Alzheimer’s disease is usually trialed for eight weeks before being evaluated to see if there is any benefit.
Type 3 Diabetes Prevention
There’s a lot of overlap between actions that can help prevent both diabetes and Alzheimer’s, such as eating a balanced diet and getting more exercise.
Follow these four pillars to lower your risk of having Alzheimer’s disease:
- Take a high-potency supplement and eat a diet rich in real foods and low in processed, refined foods. The Mediterranean diet is a wonderful choice.
- Get plenty of physical and mental exercise—ideally 150 minutes of aerobic and weight training per week—by reading, producing art, solving crossword puzzles, and other brain-stimulating activities.
- Deal with your anxiety.
- Socialize with others and volunteer in your community to improve your psychological well-being.
Numerous studies have shown that making lifestyle modifications can help persons with type 2 diabetes control their blood sugar levels. Other strategies that can help prevent diabetes, in addition to the four pillars listed above, include:
- Losing 5% to 10% of your body weight will help you regain insulin sensitivity.
- To relieve the strain on your organs, quit smoking.
- Getting enough sleep can help you cope with chronic stress and increase your glucose absorption.
Discuss your worries with your doctor if you have diabetes and are concerned about your risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease as a result. They may be able to fine-tune your therapy and control tactics to aid in your Alzheimer’s defense.
If, after reading the article “What is type 3 diabetes “, you liked it and became interested in studying in other fields of health and medicine, we suggest you read the following articles from the category diabetes on our website.