Types 1 and 2 diabetes are well known and increasing diseases in Westernized cultures today! Type 1 diabetes indicates an autoimmune disorder in which a person’s immune system attacks and destroys the pancreatic beta cells that are responsible for insulin production. Type 2 diabetes indicates a non-autoimmune manifestation of insulin resistance and high blood sugar that leaves the body unable to efficiently use glucose for fuel!
However, contrary to the conventional medical definition of diabetes, there are three “hidden” forms that receive little if any attention or treatment!
While you may not fall into the exact categories of type 1 or 2 diabetes, you may be suffering from diabetes symptoms without proper diagnosis or treatment!
If diabetes is a thunderstorm, pre-diabetes is the dark storm cloud that signals its approach! In most cases, when patients are informed that their blood sugar is a bit high (100 and 125 mg/dl) and has fallen in the prediabetic range, they may be put on Metformin, but often they are told to eat “better” and lose weight! Conventional practitioners rarely (if ever) dig for the answer as to what is causing high blood sugar in the first place.
People do not become diabetic overnight. When those high blood sugar levels are left uncorrected, the body begins to develop insulin resistance, and insulin resistance can lead to metabolic syndrome. At this point, a patient is often considered pre-diabetic, and after years of elevated blood glucose levels, patients will usually see an official diagnosis of type 2 diabetes.
2. Type 1.5 Diabetes
There is a lesser known type of diabetes referred to as type 1.5 diabetes. Type 1.5 refers to patients who have a combination of both autoimmune and insulin resistant mechanisms driving their inability to regulate blood sugar levels. For example, a patient may develop diabetes in their adult years and be diagnosed with type 2 diabetes without performing the necessary testing to determine whether the patient has a concurrent autoimmune disorder. This is one of the major reasons some patients are unable to successfully manage their condition.
3. Type 3 Diabetes
There is increasing evidence that some forms of Alzheimer’s disease are, in fact, a form of diabetes that many researchers and doctors now refer to as type 3! We know that patients with diabetes are more than twice as likely to develop Alzheimer’s and that obesity and metabolic syndrome alone can cause cognitive dysfunction.
Alzheimer’s is no longer considered a complication of diabetes; instead, the two conditions appear to share a mechanism of action that equally disrupts vital cells throughout the body.
Accumulating research indicates that the same insulin resistance behind type 2 diabetes may also be a significant mechanism in the development of the memory-disrupting plaque seen on the brains of people with Alzheimer’s.
Some studies have even found evidence of this plaque in the pancreas of patients with type 2 diabetes, inexplicably linking these two diseases (for now).
Researchers have linked inflammation caused by chronically elevated blood sugar to damaged brain tissue. Another connection is that the standard American diet, a pathway to diabetes development, is void of essential nutrients that support optimal functioning within the body.
If you suspect that you may be suffering from one of these hidden forms of diabetes, it is critical to find a functional medicine provider that can use advanced testing and therapies to help you heal and reverse your diabetes path!