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Type 3 diabetes is a term that has been proposed by
researchers to describe the association of diabetes with Alzheimer's disease,
which develops when neurons in the brain become resistance to insulin. Insulin
is a hormone produced by pancreas that your body needs to help glucose get from
your blood into your body’s cells to produce energy. While muscle cells have an
ability to utilize glucose and fats to fuel their activity, brain cells get
their energy solely from glucose. In type 3 diabetes, neurons (the brain cells)
do not get enough energy, which causes the brain to become unable to properly
perform a number of cognitive functions, including memory, attention, concentration,
organization, self-monitoring, awareness, alertness, decision-making, motor
skills, and speaking. The progressive reduction in performing these functions characterizes
The symptoms of type 3 diabetes are those found in early stages
of Alzheimer’s disease. They include memory loss that affects social
interactions and disrupts daily life, challenges in making judgements based on
information, trouble performing familiar tasks, often getting confused about dates,
names, and places, having vision problems, misplacing things, having
difficulties finding the right words when speaking or writing, experiencing
personality and mood changes and difficulties in problem solving.
People have a higher chance to develop type 3 diabetes when
they have type 2 diabetes. So type 2 diabetes risk factors can also be relevant
for type 3 diabetes and include the following: genes, having little or no
physical activity, being overweight or obese, having a history of heart disease
or stroke, having high blood pressure, being 45 years of age or older, having a
high level of triglycerides or a low level of “good” (HDL) cholesterol, having
polycystic ovary syndrome, and having a history of gestational diabetes.
Diagnosis of type 3 diabetes is different from diagnosis of
type 1 and type 2 diabetes in that there are no specific tests for type 3
diabetes. Diagnosis can be made based on a patient’s medical history, a
neurological examination (to identify if the nervous system has been affected),
and neurophysiological testing, such as DTI (Diffusion Tensor Imaging), which
is performed to detect abnormalities in the brain tissue.
As opposed to diagnosis techniques, the
prevention strategy for type 3 diabetes is rather similar to the one for type 2
diabetes. It should incorporate a healthy diet with plenty of protein and fiber
and without saturated fat, refined carbohydrates, and processed foods; regular
exercise of moderate intensity that combines strength training, cardio exercise,
and swimming; maintenance of healthy weight; and careful monitoring of blood
sugar and cholesterol levels. Besides, mental exercise that includes reading, memory
games and puzzles, and engaging in artistic activity, as well as implementation
of stress management, quality sleep, and socializing with people, also play an
important role in prevention of type 3 diabetes.
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