Everyone in Westernized cultures is familiar with type 1 and type 2 diabetes. They are well-known chronic illnesses, and increasingly more individuals are receiving a diagnosis for one of these types.
Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune condition where an individual’s immune system targets and kills pancreatic beta cells that are tasked with producing insulin. Type 2 diabetes, on the other hand, is a non-autoimmune condition where the body becomes insulin resistant and acquires high blood sugar, which means the body can no longer efficiently turn glucose into fuel.
Although these are the general types of diabetes that many have become quite familiar with, there are three “secret” forms of diabetes that receive very little recognition and even less treatment. If you believe you have diabetes but don’t fall into the type 1 or type 2 categories, you may have been misdiagnosed or receiving improper treatment.
Pre-diabetes is a warning sign-- a signal that diabetes is about to develop in full swing. Usually, when a doctor tells his or her patients that their blood sugar is on the higher side and has fallen in the prediabetic range (100 and 125 mg/dl), they are put on Metformin to control the condition. The patients are often also told to eat a healthier diet and exercise more. Conventional medicine practitioners tend to provide solutions without trying to figure out what initially caused the high blood sugar.
This condition does not appear out of the blue; when high blood sugar levels go unnoticed or uncorrected, the body becomes resistant to insulin.
Insulin resistance can lead to metabolic syndrome. After a diagnosis of pre-diabetes, a patient will usually receive a type 2 diabetes diagnosis not too long after.
2. Type 1.5 Diabetes
A less popular type of diabetes, type 1.5 diabetes, describes patients who have an autoimmune condition but also suffer from insulin resistance, which inhibits their ability to regulate blood sugar. For instance, a patient may develop diabetes later on in life. He or she is diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, but his/her health care provider did not perform the correct test that would determine whether the patient has an autoimmune disorder that has come along with the insulin resistance. This is a very common situation, and it leaves individuals unable to manage their condition accurately or successfully.
3. Type 3 Diabetes
Individuals who have been diagnosed with diabetes are more than twice as likely to develop Alzheimer’s later in life.
We also know that obesity and metabolic syndrome can lead to cognitive dysfunction. Due to all of this new knowledge, functional medical practitioners are no longer considering Alzheimer’s a diabetic complication; the two illnesses share commonalities that disrupt vital cells within the body.
More and more studies are proposing that the mechanism behind insulin resistance in type 2 diabetics may be a significant factor in memory-disrupting plaque seen in the brains of those with Alzheimer’s. Some research even indicates that the same plaque is seen in the pancreas of individuals with type 2 diabetes. Additionally, inflammation that occurs as a result of high blood sugar damages brain tissue. The standard American diet (SAD) is also a linking factor between these two conditions, as the diet lack essential nutrients the body needs to function.
If you suspect you may have one of these lesser-known forms of diabetes, it is vital that you find a functional medicine practitioner who can utilize advanced testing and individualized therapies to help you combat your disease and restore your health.