What is type 4 diabetes?
What causes type 4 diabetes?
The latest form of type 4 diabetes is still being investigated, so its development and progression are not fully understood. However, clinicians agree that the aging process brings on the condition. Age-related insulin resistance varies physiologically from obesity-related insulin resistance.
Type 4 diabetes has been linked to excessive amounts of regulatory T cells, one type of immune cell in the body. These regulatory T cells accumulate as part of the aging process and are unrelated to the amount of fat that is present in the body.
There’s no need to panic because not all seasoned folks will get type 4 diabetes! Scientists are still trying to figure out the underlying causes that can bring on the disease.
What are the type 4 diabetes symptoms?
- Blurry vision
- Frequent urination
- Increased thirst
- Increased appetite
- Unexplained weight loss
- Sores that won’t heal
How is type 4 diabetes diagnosed?
If you are over age 65, have been experiencing any of the symptoms above, and are considered to be at a ‘healthy’ body weight, do schedule an appointment with your healthcare provider for insulin resistance testing. You may be asked to undergo additional testing if your doctor suspects you have insulin resistance or another condition. Word to the wise, ask for a referral to an endocrinologist specializing in diabetes and other hormonal disorders.
Managing type 4 diabetes differs from managing other forms of diabetes since the underlying physiology differs. What is recommended with regard to a diagnosis of diabetes is to maintain a blood sugar level that is balanced. This can be achieved through blood sugar monitoring and learning how to balance your meals or count carbs. Consider consulting with a registered dietitian (RD or RDN) who is a certified diabetes educator (CDE). Your dietitian will help you learn how to eat to regulate your blood glucose effectively to alleviate your symptoms.
Since type 4 diabetes isn’t a diagnosis yet, there aren’t specific treatments. Some doctors will prescribe medications used to treat type 2 diabetes, which can help with blood sugar regulation but won’t address the underlying root cause. Research is currently underway on this disease and potential treatments to reduce the regulatory T-cell count and improve insulin resistance.
Need more information on diabetes? Visit the American Diabetes Association (ADA) website.