Community Blog

Is Alzheimer’s a Form of Diabetes?

By Ketan Patel

Family members and in-home caregivers may notice changes in behavior that indicate the onset of Alzheimer’s. Studies now show that the disease can be considered a form of diabetes. The good news is that if Alzheimer’s is really Type 3 Diabetes, it is possible to make changes to lower your risk. Studies are ongoing, but the evidence is piling up.

What is Alzheimer’s?

Alzheimer’s is not considered a normal part of the aging process, but it accounts for up to 80% of all dementia cases. Alzheimer’s begins with changes to the brain leading to mild memory impairment. Two abnormal structures appear – plaques deposits of beta-amyloid protein and tangles of tau protein. As the disease progresses, patients can lose their ability to respond to their environment. Symptoms may include severe memory loss, disorientation, mood changes, confusion and behavioral changes. People with Alzheimer’s can have trouble recognizing familiar faces and have a hard time walking, speaking and swallowing.

The Link between Alzheimer’s and Diabetes

Everyone needs insulin to help the cells process glucose (blood sugar) for energy. If people eat too much sugar and carbs that turn into sugar, two things can happen. Either the pancreas stops producing enough insulin, or the cells ignore the insulin and become insulin resistant. When the brain does not have enough insulin, there is reduced brain function. People used to think of diabetes as Type 1 that you are born with and Type 2 that you develop as you age. Now it turns out that Alzheimer’s may be Type 3 Diabetes, diet induced diabetes, that occurs as the result of a high sugar, high carb diet.

Diet, Lifestyle and Alzheimer’s

We do not get Alzheimer’s by chance, as was previously thought. More and more, studies are linking diet to Alzheimer’s as well as Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes. We can no longer ignore the mounting evidence that Alzheimer’s can develop as a result of a high sugar, high carb diet, leading to the designation Type 3 Diabetes. We can’t cure Alzheimer’s, but can we prevent it from starting in the first place? Scientists are not sure yet, and genetics and other factors may play a part. But a healthy diet of fruits, veggies, whole grains and healthy fats, and limited intake of sugar, salt and processed foods may help, along with exercise and social connections.

Here are some suggestions that may ward off the onset of Alzheimer’s:

  • Eat “real,” not processed, food
  • Ditch the donuts and eat healthy fats (avocados, raw nuts, salmon, etc.)
  • Keep up with Vitamin D and Magnesium
  • Optimize restorative sleep
  • Challenge your mind
  • Exercise regularly and avoid too much sitting
  • Stay connected with friends and family

Hiring a Caregiver

Specially trained in-home caregivers at Home Helpers of South Shore can help your loved one with Alzheimer’s. A home healthcare professional can help with healthy eating and provide transportation to social activities and doctor’s appointments.

Home Helpers of South Shore is owned and operated by a compassionate health professional with a strong understanding of the needs of aging seniors. Contact Home Helpers to help your aging loved one. Please fill out the form on the left and we will get in touch with you about setting up in-home health care, or call us at 781-585-1244 to determine the plan that is right for you.

We serve the following communities:

Abington , Braintree , Brockton , Buzzards Bay , Carver , Cohasset, Dighton , Duxbury , Falmouth , Halifax , Hanson , Hingham , Holbrook , Hull , Humarock , Kingston , Lakeville , Marshfield , Mashpee , Middleboro , Norwell , Pembroke , Plymouth , Plympton , Quincy , Randolph , Rockland , Sandwich , Scituate , Taunton , Wareham , Weymouth , Whitman