There is no agreed upon definition of type 3 diabetes. Unlike type 1 and type 2 diabetes, which are well-defined and have specific causes, symptoms and treatments, what constitutes type 3 diabetes is up for debate. The term, however, is sometimes used to describe gestational diabetes, double diabetes, hybrid diabetes or "brain diabetes" that triggers the neurodegenerative Alzheimer's disease. Given the debate, any treatment for type 3 diabetics would depend on how one defines the condition.
Type 3 diabetes may refer to a case of double diabetes or hybrid diabetes, meaning a patient has both type 1 and type 2 forms of the disease. This may happen, for example, if a type 1 patient gains weights and develops type 2 diabetes. The insulin needed to treat the type 1 diabetes becomes ineffective because of the insulin resistance caused by the type 2 diabetes. This form also is referred to as type 1 1/2 diabetes, in addition to type 3.
Others refer to this kind of diabetes as "brain diabetes." A team of researchers at a medical school in Rhode Island, U.S., first coined this usage in 2005 after publishing a study concluding that the brain, not just the pancreas, produces insulin. The researchers suggest that the brain's inability to produce insulin may lead to Alzheimer's disease, which they call brain diabetes or type 3 diabetes. Supporters of this research point to established evidence that diabetics have an increased chance of developing Alzheimer's disease.
Type 3 diabetes also may refer to unstable blood sugar levels caused by electrosensitivity to "dirty energy." Proponents of this school of thought believe that certain electronic devices, including cell phones, computers and microwaves, emit electropollution. The electropollution exposure causes blood sugar levels to spike, creating this kind of diabetes. Supporters believe that electropollution's effect on blood sugar may occur in both people already diagnosed with a form of diabetes and non-diabetics.
In general, diabetes mellitus -- more commonly known just as diabetes -- is a metabolic disorder that impacts how insulin is created and used. There are three established forms of diabetes: type 1, type 2 and gestational. Type 1 diabetes, also commonly known as juvenile diabetes, means the body does not produce insulin; treatment typically requires insulin injections. The more common form is type 2 diabetes, or adult-onset diabetes, which is marked by insulin resistance; treatment usually includes medication and lifestyle changes, such as diet and exercise.
There also is gestational diabetes, typically a temporary condition during pregnancy characterized by high glucose levels. While some sources refer to gestational diabetes as type 3, the medical community typically does not refer to gestational diabetes as such. It is more common to see type 3 labeled as other conditions. Without an accepted definition, many medical professionals do not recognize the term type 3 diabetes.