Diabetes is the condition in which the body does not properly process food for use as energy. Most of the food we eat is turned into glucose or sugar for our bodies to use for energy. The pancreas (an organ that lies near the stomach) makes a hormone called insulin to help glucose get into the cells of our bodies.
Dementia is a syndrome in which there is weakening in memory, thinking, behaviour and the ability to perform everyday activities. However, dementia mainly affects older people but it is not a normal part of ageing. So consciousness is not affected.
How diabetes can lead to dementia
There are multiple reasons why type 2 diabetes may lead to dementia. One reason is related to the effects that diabetes has on the heart. Since we know that heart health is related to brain health. Heart disease and elevated blood pressure are both associated with strokes, that in turn can lead to dementia. However, strokes do not appear to be the complete answer. Many studies found that diabetes led to an increase in risk of dementia even when strokes were controlled for.
Another factor we can relate on is hypoglycemia which is commonly occurring in diabetes. Although tight control of blood sugars has been proven to reduce the long-term risks of heart disease and strokes, tight control can also lead to hypoglycemia, memory loss and dementia. Consequently, low blood sugar levels are known to damage the hippocampus the memory centre of the brain.
It’s possible to reduce your risk of diabetes and dementia
It’s possible to reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes and your risk of dementia. Therefore speaking with your doctor today about current lifestyle modifications that would be right for you. Note that these lifestyle changes are helpful even if you have a diagnosis of diabetes or prediabetes.
How to reduce your risk of diabetes and dementia
- Engage in aerobic exercise at least 30 minutes each day, five days each week.
- Eat healthy foods.
- Maintain a healthy body weight.
- Treat high blood pressure.
- Treat high cholesterol.
- Don’t smoke.
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