Friday, October 6, 2017

Diabetes and Your Brain: Understand the Connection & Safeguard Your Health

diabetes and the brain

Get a basic, non-complicated description of your brain!

First, What Can You Do?

Glucose (sugar) is the brain's only food. So a disease that involves the body's sugar levels needs special attention.

By tightly controlling diabetes and working on holistic ways to reverse diabetes via adopting a healthier diet and lifestyle, it is possible to prevent cognitive decline that often comes with poorly managed diabetes. In fact, studies have found that diabetes prevention and glucose control in midlife may protect against late-life cognitive decline, so it’s important to act now!

Diabetes is characterized by high blood sugar levels that result from the body’s inability to produce and/or use insulin. As can be imagined, these increased blood sugar levels have a harmful impact on the whole body, and the brain is no exception.
The human brain is a complex organ, and hence is very sensitive to the harmful effects of high or low blood sugar levels, since glucose and oxygen are the main fuel for brain function.
Now diabetes is a double edged sword — both hyperglycemia (or high blood glucose that comes with poorly managed diabetes) as well as hypoglycemia (or low blood glucose that can be caused by diabetes treatment) can negatively impact the brain. For diabetics, chance of brain related complications is just one more reason to keep your diabetes under control.

Effects of High Blood Glucose On The Brain

High levels of blood glucose entering the brain cause damage to blood vessels over time. The brain’s white matter is the area where nerves are linked and communicate in order to carry out every day activities of life. Think of the white matter as the subway of the brain, providing the essential connectivity, and uniting different regions of the brain into networks that perform various mental operations. When excess blood sugar levels damage the small blood vessels of the brain, this connectivity is disrupted and the result is often a dramatic disturbance of normal mental function. Over time, this damage causes changes in thinking, known as vascular cognitive impairment or vascular dementia.

Several scientific research studies have found that the longer you have diabetes, the more of a chance there is of cognitive impairment. Research done at Harvard Medical School found evidence that “Type 2 diabetes is associated with ... atrophy involving several brain regions...and this effect is intensified in cases with uncontrolled diabetes”. Both this study as well as another study published in The Official Journal of the American Academy of Neurology found a link between diabetes and cognitive impairment. These studies prove that in older people suffering from Type 2 Diabetes, diabetes-related-inflammation further ... accelerates decline in executive function and daily activities performance.
Besides cognitive function, diabetes also affects memory and can result in poor reasoning during intellectual tasks.
What is surprising here is that most doctors with a clinical practice treating diabetes every day find that cognitive impairment is less common in patients with diabetes Type 1, as this kind of diabetes is insulin-dependent and hence, often well-controlled. They find that in general, patients with Type 2 diabetes have developed this condition, because they’re less fit and lead a sedentary, unhealthy lifestyle, which also leads to obesity, heart disease, high cholesterol levels and high blood pressure – all of which can result in inflammation that also damages the blood vessels of the brain.


Upcoming: The Effects of Low Blood Glucose on the Brain

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