Have you ever heard of type 3 diabetes?

I hadn’t until recently. Alzheimer’s disease is being referred to as type 3 diabetes. Patients who have diabetes deal with issues related to chronic inflammation, which has been linked to two brain changes that are typical of Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s patients present with the protein beta-amyloid plaque between the brain cells. This protein blocks communication between the cells and researchers recently found it in the pancreas of type 2 diabetics. Type 2 diabetics also deal with the issue of insulin resistance. Researchers believe this deprives the brain cells of glucose that results in damage to those cells. Alzheimer’s patients that do not have a history of diabetes are also presenting with reduced levels of insulin in the brain.

Type 2 diabetics are between 50-65% more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease than non-diabetics. Patients who also present with high levels of cholesterol or hypertension are also at a greater risk of developing the disease. Patients that are in the early stages of developing type 3 diabetes will not always present with high blood sugar so be alert for the traditional warning signs of the disease, which include:

  • Memory loss that effects the ADLs
  • Issues with problem solving
  • Confusion about dates, places and names
  • Vision impairments
  • Mood and personality changes
  • Losing things
  • Losing their train of thought during a conversation