AskNadia: Is Alzheimer Disease Type 3 Diabetes

Dear Nadia,

Any information on Type 3 Diabetes?

Michele DelP
Twitter Follower

Dear Michelle,

There is much information about Type 3 diabetes in print and online. You can expect to find several definitions. How this is defined depends on which community you turn to in staying informed.

Urban Dictionary’s Definition

Describes Type 3 diabetes as being someone that speaks a lot about their love with a romantic interest; causing the reader or listener to get Type 3 diabetes.

I find this definition amusing because the urban dictionary also references buying insulin in light of unfairly giving you Type 3 diabetes.


Does this also mean, conversely, if you are not sweet on someone that your friends and family no longer have diabetes? Is it curable?

Don’t we all wish reversing diabetes was this simple? All you have to do is proclaim that you are no longer sweet on a person, so, diabetes, be gone!

Diabetes Community

Type 3 in the diabetes community refers to the caretakers and family members  who help their husband, wife, child, parent and grandparent living with diabetes.

We are the silent soldiers, ready at any moment, to fight for our loved ones.

As a former wife of a type 1, I was involved in helping my husband manage his disease. Preparing healthy meals, exercising and ensuring his supplies never ran out. This included being there for hypo and hyperglycemia episodes.

Sometimes I would wake up in the middle of the night, finding my former husband standing in front of the fridge, in the kitchen with the door wide open: anxiously rummaging through the foods on the cold shelves, to help him treat his shaking body. Not an uncommon occurrence, until he started Dr. Bernstein’s low carb diet and dropped his insulin requirements in half.

Years after being married to a type 1, my mother and brother were diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, which meant, I spent lots of time supporting them in learning how to manage their blood sugars.

My diabetes supply store and live radio talk show with diabetes luminaries taught me a great deal about this chronic disease. Some of our listeners told us that their physician disliked us because we kept them more informed about the latest diabetes therapy than what their doctors were recommending.

We accidentally raised the patient’s bar with our quest to learn and share the newest and best therapy in diabetes medication and devices.

My mother’s diabetes self-management took me to her doctor’s appointments. Over time, when she was still unable to achieve good blood sugars with her type 2 medication, I was the one that advocated for a new therapy by requesting insulin to be added to her self-management. Her physician was quick to fight back.

Sometimes physicians will defer putting type 2 patients on insulin, fearing a patient’s hypoglycemia episode might land them in court. Unfortunately, this is a real concern for healthcare professionals.

Personally, I feel if insulin were the first line of therapy for people with type 2 diabetes, they would manage their disease differently. The illusion of a pill compensating for your eating habits and or addictions creates a disincentive for newly diagnosed patients to take their condition more seriously. Other complex issues need to be addressed such as obesity and depression.

Diabetes is complicated. A more holistic approach to all the factors that impact one’s success in maintaining good blood sugars should be considered for the best possible outcome.

My mother’s diabetes physician was a difficult person. My open discussions about exploring different therapies were received with an adversarial response. Her physician refused my request for a quarterly A1C test.

Can you imagine having a weekly live radio show with progressive diabetes specialists and being stuck with an old school physician who refused anything I request for my mother simply because I brought attention to it. It was evident to me and not to the doctor that her ego was not prescribing what was best for her patient.

Type 3 and Alzheimer

A few years back diabetes published an article about  research that connects Type 3 diabetes to Alzheimer disease.

When Suzanne de la Monte a Brown University neuropathologist experimented with lab rat brains, she discovered if she inhibited the insulin path to the rat’s brain, they would exhibit Alzheimer symptoms.

“We have been able to prove, for the first time, that insulin and its growth factors are produced in the brain, not just in the pancreas, as previously thought,” says De La Monte. “And we have found that in people with Alzheimer’s disease, the amount of insulin in the brain is markedly reduced, and insulin receptor cells are also reduced,” which means the brain cells that normally respond to insulin have died. The result is insulin resistance, a kind of “brain diabetes” that precedes, and may cause, Alzheimer’s-type changes in the brain”.

Exercise and Alzheimer

Exercise is beneficial to all. Regardless of a diabetes diagnosis.

There are many benefits to exercising for people living with diabetes. Exercising 150 minutes a week is a good prescription for insulin resistance; better blood sugar, less stress, mental health as well as improved cognition.

Studies also show that exercise for people living with Type 2 diabetes can delay an Alzheimer diagnosis.

You might also enjoy reading these articles:

Alzheimer’s New Name Type 3 Diabetes

Diabetes Drug Shows Promise in Reducing Alzheimer’s DiseaseType

2 Diabetes Raises Alzheimer’s Disease Risk


Evidence Reviewed
Exercise plays a preventive role against Alzheimer’s disease

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Email Nadia at [email protected].


Nadia’s feedback on your question is in no way intended to initiate or replace your healthcare professionals therapy or advice. Please check in with your medical team to discuss your diabetes management concerns.
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About Nadia:
Nadia was not only born into a family with diabetes but also married into one. She was propelled at a young age into “caretaker mode,” and with her knowledge of the scarcity of resources, support, and understanding for people with diabetes, co-founded Diabetes Interview now Diabetes Health magazine.
Nadia holds 14 nominations for her work as a diabetes advocate.
Her passion for working in the diabetes community stemmed from her personal loss. She has used her experience as a caretaker to forge a career in helping others.

Nadia has been featured on ABC, NBC, CBS, and other major cable networks. Her publications, medical supply business and website have been sited, recognized and published in Herb Caen, WSJ, Ann Landers, Lee Iacocca, Entrepreneur magazine, Houston News,, Brand Week, Drug Topics and many other media outlets.

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