Type 3 Diabetes - Causes, Symptoms & Treatment
Metabolic Health

Type 3 Diabetes Causes, Symptoms and More

Type 1 and type 2 diabetes are among the most widely known chronic diseases. Recently, a new type of diabetes has been discovered. It is known as Type 3 diabetes. It is a long-term disorder caused by insulin resistance in the brain. Though the term “type 3 diabetes” has not yet been entirely accepted in the medical domain, rigorous research is being conducted to understand it better. Continue to read the article how know about type 3 diabetes causes and symptoms

What is type 3 diabetes?

There are different types of diabetes such as type 1, type 2 and gestational, all depending on different causes. However, there is another type 3 diabetes that you may have heard of. So what is type 3 diabetes? Let’s find out. 

This "type 3 diabetes" is a phrase coined to characterize the concept that Alzheimer's disease, a leading cause of dementia, is caused by a form of insulin resistance and insulin-like growth factor malfunction that occurs especially in the brain. Some individuals use this term to describe persons who have type 2 diabetes and are also diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease dementia. The categorization of type 3 diabetes is very contentious, and it is not universally acknowledged as a clinical diagnosis by the medical profession. 

The medical condition referred to above as "type 3 diabetes" should not be confused with type 3c diabetes mellitus (also called T3cDM, pancreatogenic diabetes, and type 3c diabetes). The pancreas contains both endocrine and exocrine glands, each with its own function. Insulin is one of the hormones produced and secreted by beta-islet cells of the Islets of Langerhans, an endocrine pancreatic tissue. T3cDM occurs when the exocrine pancreas gets ill and produces a secondary insult to the endocrine pancreas, eventually leading to diabetes.

The link between diabetes and Alzheimer’s

The relationship between Alzheimer’s and diabetes has initiated a great deal of research. To understand type 3 diabetes, one must know why the term originated. The terminology ‘type 3 diabetes’ arose because Alzheimer’s is associated with the brain, and its biochemical attributes overlap with type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Research has proved that individuals suffering from obesity and type 2 diabetes are at higher risk of developing Alzheimer’s.

Lack of insulin due to diabetes leads to the inability of the body to break down sugar, resulting in the unhealthy accumulation of sugar in the blood. In Alzheimer’s disease, a similar thing occurs, but the effect of insulin deficiency is restricted to the brain. Increased blood sugar levels cause inflammation of brain tissue, leading to vascular dementia and chemical imbalance. Type 3 diabetes causes improper regulation of blood sugar in the brain, triggering a decline in cognitive abilities.

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Causes for Type 3 Diabetes

Type 3 diabetes mellitus can be brought on due to several factors. People who are diagnosed with type 2 diabetes may have an increased risk of developing Alzheimer's disease or another kind of dementia, such as vascular dementia, by up to 60 percent. The following are some of the risk factors for type 2 diabetes:

  • Type 2 diabetes 
  • Insulin resistance
  • Damage and inflammation of blood vessels in the brain
  • Oxidative stress
  • Abnormal levels of beta-amyloid protein (essential for neural growth and repair) in the brain
  • A history of diabetes in one's family
  • Hypertension; high blood pressure (hypertension)
  • Having excessive body fat, often known as obesity.
  • Certain long-term health issues, such depression and polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), for example (PCOS)

Risk Factors for Type 3 Diabetes

Type 3 diabetes is more prevalent in individuals having:

  • A family history of diabetes
  • High birth weight and obesity
  • High blood pressure
  • A sedentary lifestyle
  • Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)

Symptoms of Type 3 Diabetes

The symptoms are very similar to those of dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease. Type 3 diabetes causes:

  • A decline in cognitive functions, such as analysis and planning.
  • Trouble in performing well-acquainted tasks.
  • Disorientation regarding time and place.
  • Frequently losing items, diminished capacity to make decisions based on facts, rapid changes in personality or manner, and so on are all symptoms of dementia.
  • Difficulty in following instructions or conversations.
  • Repeating the same questions.
  • Deterioration in judgement and balance.
  • Social aloofness and mood swings.
  • Memory loss that interferes with everyday activities and interpersonal relationships

Diagnosis of Type 3 Diabetes

As type 3 diabetes is closely associated with Alzheimer’s disease, the following may be advised for its diagnosis:

  • A thorough investigation of medical history.
  • Neurological examination to check the functioning of the nervous system.
  • Brain imaging tests, such as CT scan and MRI scan.
  • Spinal tap (to test cerebrospinal fluid).
  • Neuropsychological testing to determine the brain’s efficiency.
  • Regular physical examination.
  • Haemoglobin and glucose tests.
  • Analysis of day-to-day function and behaviour.

What are the Treatments for Type 3 Diabetes

The correct approach to treat type 3 diabetes is by addressing the issues related to Alzheimer’s Disease and Type 2 diabetes:

  • Drugs like metformin improve the body’s reaction to insulin and lower blood sugar levels.
  • Cholinesterase inhibitors regulate acetylcholine levels in the brain. This helps in slowing down the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Medications and antidepressants to reduce memory loss and behavioural changes help in managing type 3 diabetes.
  • Use of replacement insulin is also recommended.
  • Exercise and diet are important factors in treatment.
  • Antipsychotic medication may be necessary to treat advanced forms of dementia induced by type 3 diabetes.

Alzheimer's disease, which is brought on by insulin resistance inside the brain, is referred to as diabetes type 3 in medical circles. Therefore, your prognosis will be different depending on a number of circumstances, the most important of which are the therapy you get for your diabetes and the degree of dementia you have. Researchers who advocate for the diagnosis of type 3 diabetes suggest that if you are able to treat your diabetes with a healthy diet, regular exercise, and medication, you may be able to slow the progression of Alzheimer's disease or vascular dementia. 

However, the evidence supporting this claim is inconclusive. Your prognosis will also be affected by how quickly your symptoms were recognized, as well as the perspective that your healthcare practitioner has on your unique circumstance. Your prognosis is likely to improve significantly if you begin therapy as soon as possible. When a person is diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease, their life expectancy ranges anywhere from three to eleven years on average, according to the study that has been conducted. But there is evidence that some Alzheimer's patients live up to 20 years after their diagnosis.

Type 3 diabetes treatment also includes prescription drugs available to treat the cognitive symptoms of Alzheimer's dementia, but it's unclear whether these drugs have a discernible effect on the signs and symptoms of Alzheimer's disease.

You may be administered acetylcholinesterase inhibitors to enhance cell communication, such as donepezil (Aricept), galantamine (Razadyne), or rivastigmine (Exelon). An NMDA-receptor antagonist called memantine (Namenda) may also aid in easing symptoms and delaying the course of Alzheimer's disease. Psychotropic medications may be used to treat sadness and mood swings, two additional symptoms of Alzheimer's disease and other kinds of dementia. Certain treatments may include antidepressants and anti-anxiety drugs.

Outlook for Type 3 Diabetes

Type 3 diabetes is a chronic condition. However, taking care of three significant factors go a long way in deciding its outlook or prognosis:

  • Early diagnosis: The earlier it is diagnosed and treated, the better are the prospects of managing it.
  • Effective management: Regular exercise, strict diet, and timely medication increase life expectancy by slowing down the advancement of this condition.
  • Intensity of the condition: Depending on the stage of dementia and decline in cognitive functions, palliative care must be provided.

Preventing Type 3 Diabetes

The good news is that, with a bit of effort and awareness, prevention of this condition is possible. The relationship between Alzheimer’s disease and diabetes poses a challenge in the disease’s progression, but it can be averted by following certain lifestyle changes:

  • Increasing physical activity and exercising regularly.
  • Steady monitoring of blood sugar levels.
  • Maintaining body weight.
  • Avoiding processed foods and managing cholesterol levels.
  • Consuming a high-protein, high-fibre, and low-fat diet.
  • Ensuring psychological well-being.
  • Quitting smoking.
  • Sleeping on time to rule out sleep apnea and being well-rested.
  • Performing activities to stimulate cognitive functions.

Bottomline

Type 3 diabetes should not be confused with type 3c diabetes mellitus. The latter is a form of pancreatogenic diabetes. Type 3 diabetes, on the other hand, is confined to insulin resistance in the brain. A lot of research is still ongoing to understand what is type 3 diabetes. But, sufficient studies have proved that there is indeed a relationship between low insulin levels and decline in cognitive functions. Maintaining healthy precautions and constant monitoring of symptoms and risk factors go a long way in managing this condition.

FAQs

What is the name of type 3 diabetes?

Diabetes mellitus type 3 corresponds to insulin deficiency and resistance that affects mainly the human brain. Known as type 3 diabetes, a person having type 3 diabetes develops a condition in the brain where the brain is unable to signal properly due to fluctuating insulin levels. This type of diabetes reduces a person's ability to focus and perform things, loss of judgment and balance, mood swings, and many more brain-related disorders.

Can type 3 diabetes affect memory loss?

Type 3 diabetes affects the activities that are performed by the brain. Due to a defect in insulin signaling, a person might experience frequent mood swings, loss of judgment, frequent misplacement of things, trouble performing tasks, social anxiety, difficulty in retaining conversations, etc. There is a high chance that a person with type 3 diabetes would suffer from memory loss due to the damage caused to the brain because of defective insulin signaling.

Is There a Type 4 Diabetes?

Yes, there is Type 4 diabetes. It is a term given to the condition wherein insulin resistance develops in older or aged people, even though they aren’t obese. This condition is often underdiagnosed for a variety of reasons. You can say that Type 4 diabetes has nothing to do with increased weight but older age. 

Is Type 3c Diabetes Rare?

If you look at the community of people diagnosed with diabetes, you will only find a tiny percentage diagnosed with Type 3c diabetes. It is very rare and often gets subjected to misdiagnosis. Even if someone develops a pancreatic condition and diabetes, doctors prefer to term it Type 2 diabetes and not Type 3c diabetes.

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