Alzheimer’s is a type of progressive dementia. But why are doctors referring to Alzheimer’s as diabetes 3? Many doctors claim that there are strong links between these two conditions. In fact, progressive dementia may be triggered by a certain insulin resistance that occurs in the brain.
According to various pieces of research from the American Diabetes Association, advanced age has high risks of diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease. A significant number of studies conclude that there are links between Alzheimer’s and type 2 diabetes. And this condition progresses with age, and the patient reaches a stage of type 3 diabetes. This is the time when Alzheimer’s kicks in.
The connection between Diabetes 3 and Alzheimer’s
The studies from the American Diabetes Association further show that as much as 65% of people who have diabetes also have the risk of developing Alzheimer’s than people who don’t have diabetes. This automatically establishes a strong link between these two diseases. Let’s consider the possibilities of this connection according to different stages of diabetes:
Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease. Your body’s immune system attacks beta cells that are responsible for producing insulin. This causes a high build-up of glucose in your bloodstream.
In type 2 diabetes, insulin starts becoming less sensitive to glucose. This, in turn, makes it ineffective at removing glucose from your bloodstream. It leads to a build-up of glucose instead of burning it to produce energy.
In Alzheimer’s, a similar type of insulin resistance takes place. However, instead of affecting the body as a whole, it affects a few localized areas in your brain.
Many studies of people’s brains after their deaths reveal that those who had Alzheimer’s showed the same abnormalities that people with type 3 diabetes usually show. This includes a low level of insulin in the brain. It proves why doctors and scientists consider Alzheimer’s as type 3 diabetes.
In Type 3 diabetes, a person’s blood sugar level either becomes too high or too low. The body starts sending various signals directly related to brain damage, such as confusion, seizures, and behavioral changes. In Alzheimer’s, the brain’s functioning starts deteriorating due to these symptoms.
The biggest breakthrough in linking Alzheimer’s with type 3 diabetes took place when scientists found that the brain slowly started becoming incapable of using and metabolizing glucose, a condition similar to patients with type 3 diabetes. These scientists compared the deterioration of cognitive ability with the decline in glucose processing and concluded that they led to behavioral changes, word-finding difficulty, and memory impairment. They also found out that insulin functioning in the brain becomes bad to worse over time, leading to a decline in cognitive abilities. It also reduces the structure and brain’s size over time, all of which take place gradually in an Alzheimer’s patient.
Common symptoms of type 3 diabetes and Alzheimer’s
Many people often ask whether Alzheimer’s and type 3 diabetes have similar symptoms or not. Well, their close association with glucose usage certainly produces various symptoms that you should keep in mind. If you notice these symptoms in a type 3 diabetes patient, you should get in touch with a doctor immediately because they can be early signs of Alzheimer’s.
- Memory loss leading to disruption in daily life
- Difficulty in completing familiar tasks, such as going to the grocery or driving.
- Challenges in solving problems and planning.
- Mood or personality changes.
- Misplacing things frequently and not able to retrace steps.
- Difficulty in following conversations.
- Difficulty in understanding spatial relationships or visual images, such as trouble with balance or reading.
- Confusion with place or time.
Many scientists and doctors are trying to determine the exact cause of Alzheimer’s. Many researchers suggest that type 3 diabetes exacerbates the development of Alzheimer’s, but is not the only issue contributing to the bigger problem. Diabetes complications can affect the brain severely, leading to Alzheimer’s by damaging the blood vessels in the brain that results in stroke or heart attacks, excess insulin secretion that alters the neurochemicals in the brain, and elevated blood sugar level that damages brain cells and trigger Alzheimer’s.
Therefore, get medical help if you notice any of the above symptoms. It is best to follow a strict diet right after the doctor diagnoses diabetes to prevent the situation from getting worse.