What Is Type 3 Diabetes?

By Katharine Paljug @kpaljug
January 23, 2018

What is type 3 diabetes? Learn about the different kinds of diabetes, why you should know the early signs of Alzheimer’s, and how to manage your symptoms.

Diabetes is a chronic disease that affects how your body produces and uses insulin.

There are multiple types of diabetes. Type 1 is an autoimmune reaction that prevents your body from making insulin. If your body does not use insulin correctly, that is type 2. Type 4 diabetes is usually called gestational diabetes and affects pregnant women.

Type 3 diabetes is a broader category. According to the European Commission for Public Health, type 3 diabetes includes “all other specific forms” of diabetes, including those that affect the pancreas and hormones.

Research from a team at Brown University has suggested that the term type 3 diabetes should be applied to a more common disease as well: Alzheimer’s disease.


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Is type 3 diabetes the same as Alzheimer’s?

Alzheimer’s disease is a form of dementia most commonly associated with poor cognition and memory loss. However, multiple studies support the theory that Alzheimer’s disease is a metabolic condition that includes insulin resistance and abnormal glucose function in the brain. High blood sugar can cause inflammation throughout your body and brain. Chronic inflammation has been linked with two brain changes typical of Alzheimer’s.

Because of this, researchers argue that Alzheimer’s disease should be categorized as type 3 diabetes. This classification is not official, but some medical trials have shown positive responses to diabetes medication in Alzheimer’s patients. There are also emerging links between type 2 diabetes and an increased risk for Alzheimer’s disease, lending support to the theory that Alzheimer’s is a form of insulin resistance.

However, other categories of type 3 diabetes are not specifically linked to Alzheimer’s disease. Type 3c diabetes, for example, is pancreatic diabetes. Patients with this disease are not at an increased risk for Alzheimer’s disease.


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March 16, 2020

Reviewed By:  

Janet O’Dell, RN