Type 3 diabetes, also known as Alzheimer’s disease-related diabetes, is a form of diabetes mellitus associated with Alzheimer’s disease. It is most seen in older adults over the age of 40 who suffer from cognitive decline or dementia. Nowadays, there is growing evidence to suggest that Type 3 diabetes may be an autoimmune disorder. Let’s explore further and gain a better understanding of this condition.

What is Autoimmune Disease

Autoimmune diseases are illnesses that occur when the body’s own immune system mistakenly attacks healthy tissue. The immune system normally helps protect us from infection and disease; however, in autoimmune diseases, the body mistakenly views its own tissues as foreign invaders and attacks them.

This leads to inflammation and damage to the organs, tissues, and cells in our bodies.  Some common autoimmune diseases include rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, type 1 diabetes, psoriasis, multiple sclerosis (MS), inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), celiac disease, thyroiditis, and Addison’s disease.

Is Type 3 Diabetes An Autoimmune Disease

The short answer is no—type 3 diabetes isn’t technically considered an autoimmune disease. While it does involve the immune system, it doesn’t directly involve autoimmunity.  At present time there is no clear consensus among medical professionals regarding whether Type 3 diabetes should be classified as an autoimmune disorder.

However, there are certain factors that may contribute to someone developing both type 1 and type 2 diabetes at the same time—which could then lead to a diagnosis of type 3 diabetes. These factors include lifestyle choices such as being overweight or obese and/or having a family history of either type 1 or 2 diabetes. Additionally, some research suggests that environmental factors may also play a role in developing both forms of the disease simultaneously.

There have been some studies that suggest a link between Alzheimer’s disease-related diabetes (Type 3) and other autoimmune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis and lupus. In these studies researchers found that people with Type 3 diabetes had higher rates of these other autoimmune disorders than those without it. However, more research needs to be done before we can definitively say that Type 3 diabetes is indeed an autoimmune disorder.

type 3 diabetes: management


How Can You Manage Type 3 Diabetes

The best way to manage type 3 diabetes is through lifestyle changes such as exercising regularly and eating a healthy diet that includes plenty of fruits and vegetables and low amounts of processed foods and sugary snacks. Additionally, maintaining a healthy weight can help keep blood sugar levels under control. It’s also important to monitor your blood sugar levels regularly to make sure they stay within a normal range.


In conclusion, while it is still too early to confirm whether Type 3 diabetes is an autoimmune disorder, there appears to be some promising evidence to suggest that it may indeed be the case for some individuals suffering from Alzheimer’s related dementia over the age of 40.

Factors such as genetics, lifestyle choices like being overweight or obese, and environmental conditions can all contribute to someone developing both forms of the disease at once which can then lead to a diagnosis.  Fortunately for those living with this condition there are many lifestyle changes that can be made that will help manage symptoms and maintain healthy blood sugar levels over time.

 At this point additional research into this condition would help us gain a more comprehensive understanding of how it affects women over 40 who suffer from cognitive decline or dementia related to their age.

It could potentially lead to better treatment options for those affected by this condition in the future if it can be confirmed that it is indeed an autoimmune disorder.  By understanding these risks and taking steps towards prevention early on can help reduce your risk for developing this serious condition later in life.

Working with a registered dietitian to help develop a nutrition plan designed specifically for you can be a real game changer.  If you’d like more personalized help, apply here for an Autoimmune Breakthrough Session to get on the right track.  Your health is worth the investment in yourself!


***Disclaimer: This post is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice***


  • Susan Taylor, RDN LD

    Meet Susan, registered dietitian / nutritionist and fellow autoimmune warrior who is dedicated to helping women with autoimmune disease get their groove back. With the right diet and lifestyle changes, Susan empowers her clients to take control of their health and feel their best. When she's not busy saving the world you can find Susan strolling along the beach, jet-setting to new destinations, and soaking up quality time with family & friends.

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