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Why Is Alzheimer’s Called Type 3 Diabetes?

June is Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month, and as such this post is an effort to help raise awareness about Alzheimer’s disease and why it is called type 3 diabetes. Alzheimer’s disease has become so common in the United States that you who are reading this may either know someone who has it or may have lost someone who had it.

Image by Raman Oza from Pixabay

What is Alzheimer’s disease?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia. It is a progressive disease beginning with mild memory loss and possibly leading to loss of the ability to carry on a conversation and respond to the environment.”

What are the warning signs of Alzheimer’s?

The CDC recommends if you or someone close to you exhibit one or more of these signs, you should see your doctor.

  • memory loss that disrupts daily life. Memory often changes as you grow older, but if you or your loved one keeps forgetting events and have to depend on visual reminders, that is not a typical sign of aging.
  • trouble completing familiar tasks such as cooking, paying bills, driving to familiar places.
  • losing track of time or place
  • difficulty with balance, dropping or spilling things more often
  • problems with words in speech or writing
  • changes in mood or behavior

How is Alzheimer’s treated?

There is no cure for Alzheimer’s. Treatment involves maintaining brain health, managing behavioral symptoms, and slowing or delaying the progress of the disease.

Is there a link between diabetes and Alzheimer’s?

While there is no link between diabetes and Alzheimer’s, it has been found that patients with diabetes have a higher risk for developing Alzheimer’s. An article in Verywell Health explains that in type 2 diabetes insulin resistance — a condition in which your body does not use insulin as it should —occurs. In Alzheimer’s disease, a similar condition occurs, but instead of affecting the whole body, it affects only the brain.

The article goes on to state that in studies of the brains of people who died from Alzheimer’s, but did not have diabetes, showed the same abnormalities as those who had diabetes, including low levels of insulin in the brain.

It is also worth noting that the same measures that would help prevent type 2 diabetes may also help prevent Alzheimer’s, such as following a healthy diet and increasing your physical activity. Verywell Health also recommends that you quit smoking, deal with stress, get sufficient sleep, and speak to your doctor about your concerns.