Our bodies are like machines, and they need to be oiled. The system needs many different inputs to maintain proper function – too little of one or too much of another can lead to breakdowns and issues. Type 2 diabetes happens when the body is no longer able to use insulin properly.
This insulin-resistance has negative changes to the diabetic person’s ability to regulate blood flow. Particularly to the brain. A new study published in Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology, showed an association between the diabetics and lower test scores on cognitive skill tests.
It took just 2 years for the diabetics to experience these cognitive impairments. In the study, they were noted to have increased difficulty with day-to-day functions as well.
“People with type 2 diabetes have impaired blood flow regulation.”
Vera Novak, MD, phD, at Harvard Medical School, says that diabetes debilitates more than just the endocrine system. “Normal blood flow regulation allows the brain to redistribute blood to areas of the brain that have increased activity while performing certain tasks. Our results suggest that diabetes and high blood sugar impose a chronic negative effect on cognitive and decision-making skills.”
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The small study followed 40 people with an average age of 66 years old. 19 of the subjects had type 2 diabetes and 21 did not have diabetes. Those with diabetes had been treated for the disease for an average of 13 years. MRI scans of the brain looked at brain volume and blood flow over the two years of the study.
After two years the people with diabetes had noticeable decreases in their ability to regulate blood flow to the brain. They had lower scores on several memory and thinking skills tests. These may not sound grandiose, but consider that the decline in blood flow to the brain had a direct correlation to the diabetics’ ability to complete daily activities such as bathing and cooking.
Of course, a larger study is necessary to see the wide-ranging effects, but this small study shows the effects type 2 diabetes has on the body in a short amount of time. Increased inflammation
Even with good control of the disorder, diabetes causes the brain harm and general decline. Over two years, type 2 diabetes was seen to cause decreases in blood flow to the brain, which causes an increase in inflammation.
Of course when there is vascular inflammation blood flow is impaired, but did you know that Alzheimer’s disease is being considered by some to be type 3 diabetes? In type 2 diabetes, your cells are less resistant to insulin – in Alzheimer’s your brain is.
Memory is known to be insulin-dependent. So, when your body is resistant to insulin, your brain will be as well. Your body is a machine that needs to be oiled, greased, and checked-on regularly. We know that a specific amount of fats or sodium can be bad, but we know that they are necessary as well.
The same is true with sugar – almost all foods are broken down to carbohydrates in your body. If you can’t use these sugars properly, your body and your brain will start to rust. With a lack of (or resistance to) insulin, your brain starts to breakdown more quickly, making daily habits – eating, washing, remembering where your keys are – a lot more difficult.
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