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  • Writer's pictureDr. Karuturi Subrahmanyam

What is Type 3c Diabetes?

Diabetes is a condition that affects how your body uses sugar (glucose) for energy. Normally, your pancreas makes a hormone called insulin that helps glucose enter your cells. But in diabetes, either your pancreas doesn’t make enough insulin, or your cells don’t respond well to insulin, or both. This causes high blood sugar levels, which can lead to serious health problems.


There are different types of diabetes, and one of them is called Type 3c Diabetes. Type 3c Diabetes is diabetes that comes from damage to your pancreas that affects its ability to make insulin and other hormones and enzymes.

Your pancreas has two main functions: making hormones that control your blood sugar levels, and making enzymes that help you digest food. When your pancreas gets damaged by diseases or injuries, it can affect both of these functions. This can cause high blood sugar levels and problems with digestion.


Some of the conditions that can damage your pancreas and cause Type 3c Diabetes are:

  • Chronic pancreatitis: inflammation of the pancreas that lasts for a long time and causes scarring and loss of function.

  • Cystic fibrosis: a genetic disorder that affects the lungs and the digestive system, causing thick mucus to build up and block the ducts of the pancreas.

  • Hemochromatosis: a condition that causes too much iron to build up in the body and damage various organs, including the pancreas.

  • Pancreatic cancer: a type of cancer that starts in the cells of the pancreas and can spread to other parts of the body.

  • Pancreatectomy: surgery to remove part or all of the pancreas.

  • Other rare causes such as pancreatic agenesis (being born without a pancreas) or genetic mutations.


Type 3c Diabetes is sometimes called pancreatogenic diabetes or pancreatic diabetes because it comes from problems with the pancreas. It is also sometimes called type 1.5 diabetes because it has some features of both type 1 and type 2 diabetes.


Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease in which your immune system attacks and destroys the cells in your pancreas that make insulin. This causes a sudden and severe lack of insulin, and people with type 1 diabetes need to take insulin shots every day to survive.


Type 2 diabetes develops when your body doesn’t make enough insulin and/or your body’s cells don’t respond normally to the insulin (insulin resistance). This causes high blood sugar levels, which can be managed with lifestyle changes and oral medications. Sometimes, people with type 2 diabetes also need to take insulin shots.


People with Type 3c Diabetes have some similarities with both type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Like people with type 1 diabetes, they have antibodies in their blood that show that their immune system is attacking their pancreas. But unlike people with type 1 diabetes, they still make some insulin for a while, so they may not need to take insulin right away. Like people with type 2 diabetes, they may also have some insulin resistance, meaning their cells don’t use insulin well. But unlike people with type 2 diabetes, they don’t have other risk factors such as obesity or family history.


Type 3c Diabetes usually affects people who are over 30 years old. Many people with Type 3c Diabetes are first diagnosed with type 2 diabetes by mistake, because they are older and still make some insulin. But over time, they may notice that their oral medications are not working well enough to keep their blood sugar levels under control. They may also lose weight without trying, or have other symptoms of high blood sugar such as thirst, hunger, frequent urination, fatigue, blurred vision, or infections.

If you think you might have Type 3c Diabetes, you should talk to your health care provider and get tested for antibodies in your blood. This can help confirm the diagnosis and guide the treatment plan. You should also monitor your blood sugar levels regularly and follow up with your doctor to check for any complications or changes in your condition.


Type 3c Diabetes may be managed with lifestyle changes such as exercising regularly, losing weight, making healthy diet choices, and quitting smoking. Medicine taken by mouth to lower blood sugar also may be part of a Type 3c Diabetes treatment plan. But as the body slowly loses its ability to make insulin, most people with Type 3c Diabetes eventually need insulin shots.


Taking care of your diabetes can help you prevent or delay serious health problems such as heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, nerve damage, eye damage, or foot problems. You can live a long and healthy life with Type 3c Diabetes if you work closely with your health care team and follow their advice.

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