The Link Between Alzheimer’s Disease and Type 3 High Blood Sugar
What We Know
While most people are familiar with the second type of high blood sugar, there’s a less widely recognized third type of high blood sugar that has been gaining attention in the world of health and research. It’s a label sometimes used to describe the relationship between Alzheimer’s disease and insulin resistance in the brain, which is a hallmark of the second type of high blood sugar. However, it’s important to note that this term is primarily a research concept and not commonly used for clinical diagnosis.
Why Is Alzheimer’s Disease Referred to as the Third Type of High Blood Sugar?
According to Guojun Bu, Ph.D., a professor of neuroscience and associate director of the Center for Regenerative Medicine at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida, “the third type of high blood sugar” is a research term aimed at understanding the growing body of evidence connecting insulin resistance in the brain to neurodegenerative conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. It’s a way to explore the complex relationship between these conditions.
How Do the Second Type 0f High Blood Sugar and Alzheimer’s Disease Affect the Body and Brain?
In the second type of high blood sugar, the body struggles to use insulin effectively, a hormone responsible for transporting glucose (blood sugar) to muscles, fat, and cells for energy. This condition is known as insulin resistance. Initially, the pancreas attempts to compensate by producing more insulin, but over time, this compensatory mechanism often fails, leading to elevated blood glucose levels, as described by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK).
The second type of high blood sugar is typically diagnosed in individuals over the age of 45 and results from a combination of genetic predisposition, environmental factors, lifestyle, diet, and other risk elements. Alzheimer’s disease, on the other hand, primarily affects older individuals, typically those aged 65 and above, as noted by the Alzheimer’s Association. It is the most common cause of dementia, characterized by progressive memory loss, changes in behavior, and the loss of physical functions, all due to the degeneration and death of nerve cells in the brain.
On average, individuals with Alzheimer’s live for four to eight years after diagnosis, although some may survive for up to two decades. Autopsies of Alzheimer’s patients reveal distinct deposits of two proteins:
- Beta-Amyloid: These protein fragments accumulate in the spaces between nerve cells, forming plaques.
- Tau: When they accumulate within cells in the form of twisted fibers, they are referred to as tangles.
The exact causes of Alzheimer’s disease are still under investigation, but researchers are exploring multiple factors, including the immune system and hormonal pathways, as per Heather M. Snyder, Ph.D., vice president of medical and scientific operations at the Alzheimer’s
Association in Durham, North Carolina. Increasingly, there is a focus on the potential connection between Alzheimer’s and high blood sugar, particularly insulin resistance. According to Dr. Snyder, individuals with high blood sugar face an elevated risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias later in life. The exact mechanisms behind this link are not fully understood, but it appears that changes occur in the way the brain processes energy in people with high blood sugar.
The Mayo Clinic suggests that the second type of high blood sugar may impact the brain’s ability to utilize glucose and respond to insulin, potentially contributing to the association between Alzheimer’s disease and insulin resistance. Research into this connection is ongoing, and scientists continue to unravel the complex relationship between these two conditions.
The good news is that you can reduce your risk of type 2 — and your risk of Alzheimer’s. Such actions in the Fix Blood Sugar Solution Kit contain lifestyle modifications that might be right for you. Note that these life changes are helpful even if you have a diagnosis of prediabetes.