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Type 2 Diabetes – Dementia and High Blood Sugar Levels


Learning to live with a diagnosis of Type 2 diabetes is hard enough. So is living with dementia. But what if you, or someone you love, had to endure both diseases at the same time? It could prove to be quite a challenging feat to juggle and properly maintain both. Handling all the aspects of Type 2 Diabetes is difficult enough when the individual has all of their faculties. But when a diabetic starts to lose their memory to dementia, it brings on an entirely new problem. Now, the individual doesn’t have the ability to ascertain exactly if their condition requires they get assistance. Nor do they understand how to tell others when they need help with their diabetes. This is a certainly a tricky situation for the diabetic to be placed in. The term “dementia” describes a set of symptoms which include:

  • loss of memory,
  • mood changes, and
  • problems with communication and reasoning.

These symptoms occur when the brain is damaged by specific diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease, and damage caused by a series of small strokes. Once an individual has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, their normal life expectancy is less than five years. If that person also happens to be diabetic, not being able to properly control their blood sugar can reduce that number of years even more. This is one of the reasons why older individuals should be properly screened for Type 2 diabetes, especially if they are starting to show hints the disease may be in the beginning stages. By the time an individual is diagnosed with dementia, they might not be fully aware of their physical condition as it pertains to diabetes. If they have never been around a diabetic, they may not even be aware of what it is they are supposed to be looking out for. There are suspicions people diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes are more prone to dementia. This is because as a person becomes insulin resistant, the levels of blood sugar and insulin both rise in the bloodstream, but insulin in the brain falls below normal levels. Brain chemicals start to suffer and proteins known as beta-amyloidaccumulate in the brain. These are the nasty compounds associated with Alzheimer’s disease.

Researchers know that as blood sugar levels are allowed to run out-of-control, they not only affect cells, tissue and arteries, but they also negatively impact the brain, as well. The more blood sugar levels are not properly managed, the more damage occurs.

The problem is Type 2 diabetes can take years to cause damage to your body. In fact, this form of diabetes is often not diagnosed for 10 to 12 years from the start of problems. Dementia can also build in the body for years, (it is said even up to 50 years), before a true diagnosis is secured. But when you take into consideration the specific damage diabetes, or high blood sugar levels, can cause to the central nervous system, it only makes good sense to be on the lookout. Your brain is about 2% of your total body weight and it receives 15 to 20% of your body’s blood supply, so you can see how your brain is open to damage by your blood sugar and insulin levels. People with Type 2 diabetes have a significantly increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease, by up to 65 percent.



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