You might have heard about diabetes type 1 and diabetes type 2 but only a few people know that there is a third type of diabetes too. It is called Type 3c diabetes which is certainly not a new condition but it is a lesser-known sibling of the first two types of diabetes.
While it is easy to diagnose diabetes type 1 and diabetes type 2, this Type 3c diabetes is extremely tricky to diagnose. Dr. Dave Trachtenbarg from the UnityPoint Health has explained this third type of diabetes for the readers.
Normally, the human pancreas has two major functions; one is to control the excessive blood sugar and the second is to support food metabolism. The body is capable of producing such enzymes that digest the food easily. But in people who have either diabetes type 1 or diabetes type 2 pancreas fails to perform this function. However, there is no issue of food digestion in these diabetic people.
Dr. Trachtenbarg tells that people who have Type 3c diabetes also experience troubled food digestion which mainly shows up as ‘bloating’ and ‘diarrhea’ which might turn chronic if ignored.
For this reason, this third type of diabetes is sometimes called “pancreatogenic” or “pancreatogenous diabetes mellitus”.
Type 3c diabetes mostly affects men and its incidence is lower in women. Tracking back to its root cause, most cases of this disease have genetic reasoning i.e. cystic fibrosis. For others, it is not clear what causes type 3c diabetes.
80% of complications of diabetes leading to type 3c diabetes are caused by inflammation of the pancreas. This chronic inflammation could be triggered by numerous factors such as gall stones, alcohol abuse, using high potency medicines, high cholesterol, etc.
In many patients who remove the pancreas, partially or completely, type 3c diabetes often shows up due to trauma. Rarely, the excessive iron in the blood, hemochromatosis also causes this third type of diabetes, as it severely damages the pancreas.
The only way to diagnose this type of diabetes is by a stool test which often contains undigested fat. This test is called “monoclonal fecal elastase-1” additionally, body scans such as CT, MRI, or ultrasound could indicate a damaged pancreas, says Dr. Trachtenbarg.
Doctors often misdiagnose type 3c diabetes as it has no ‘clear’ standards to identify. Medical experts don’t really agree on one typical standard that works well on every patient because many people have mild cases that are sometimes without any symptoms. Dr. Trachtenbarg says that diagnosing type 3c diabetes without any symptoms is extremely difficult even for a certified practitioner and most of the time it is misregarded as stomach distress.
This third type of diabetes only affects less than 2%, diabetic patients. It means when these patients are tested for the type 3c, only 8% of them show an undiagnosed third form of diabetes. Mostly those patients who have diabetes, as well as stomach distress, end up being diagnosed with it.
It means that patients of type 3c diabetes need diabetic treatment as well as digestive issues treatment. After evaluating their condition, the doctor might make them take the pancreatic enzymes by oral route to aid in digestion. They also recommend using necessary vitamins i.e. vitamin A, E, K, and D, along with minerals.
In general, people having diabetes should avoid taking sugary food, and give up smoking and alcoholism, if they are addicted.