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Type-3 Diabetes is Dementia

dementia and diabetesThe processed food consumption that has been linked to our global epidemic of obesity is also tied to the rising rates of Alzheimer’s Disease world-wide. I don’t mean to sound the alarm about sugar, but I came across an article recently that tied together a number of facts and trends that we all may have seen. And we all should be very alarmed!
As a geriatric care manager, I often work with older adults who have developed medical conditions that reflect a lifetime of poor health and nutrition habits. We see the elevated blood pressure and the obesity that can arise from sedentary lifestyles and poor diet. One of the more common developments we see is the onset of type-2 diabetes resulting from a lifetime of too many sweets that have resulted in what doctors call “insulin resistance,” the pancreas’ inability to keep producing enough insulin to process the large doses of sugar it confronts.
What you may not know is that the brain also produces insulin, and that when faced with a prolonged assault from more sugar than it can process, its ability to produce insulin may falter and then fail. The result is “type-3 diabetes.” The research has been piling up. For instance, people who suffer from type-2 diabetes (type-1 is the form that people are either born with or develop as an immune response) have deposits of amyloid-beta in their pancreas. Sound familiar? Yes, amyloid beta deposits in the brain are the signature marker for Alzheimer’s Disease. And this also begins to explain why type-2 diabetics are estimated to be anywhere from 50 percent to 100 percent as likely to also develop insulin-resistant Alzheimer’s Disease.
Now, it is important to point out that type-2 diabetes does not cause Alzheimer’s Disease, but type-3 diabetes is caused by the same over-consumption of sweets that causes type-2 diabetes. This may begin to also explain why the rates of the two conditions both have tripled in the United States in the past forty years. This, along with a lot of other inflammatory conditions related to the heart and the circulatory system.
You may have thought that the extra care required for the estimated 5.4 million obese Americans with type-2 diabetes was costing us a lot – $150 billion annually? It is estimated that care for that many Alzheimer’s patients is even higher at about $200 billion, the reason being in part because the close supervision for the safety of a cognitively-impaired patient is so much higher than for an obese individual.
This is probably one of the situations where I don’t have to connect the dots for any of you who are caregivers to an older adult…or attending even to your own well-being. My advice can best be summed up with two words: diet, exercise. Ironically, these are considered first line treatment for people who are obese or who have begun showing the signs of type-2 diabetes. Of all the advice I have digitally-shared these many years, this may be the best for a whole host of reasons. Please pass it on.
Charlotte Bishop is a Geriatric Care Manager and founder of Creative Care Management, certified professionals who are geriatric advocates, resources, counselors and friends to older adults and their families in metropolitan Chicago. Please email your questions to


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