Effects of Diabetes on the Brain
Know how diabetes can affect your brain on the short-term and long term basis.
Diabetes has an all-round adverse effect on your body functions including the brain. The brain’s functioning gets hampered even when blood sugar is not controlled. Other than that, some disorders develop as a result of the cumulative effect of having the disease for years. Some other medical conditions also play a role in aggravating these bad effects on the brain due to diabetes.
Some of the short-term effects of diabetes on the brain are -
- Slowing down of brain function leading to problems in cognition.
- Ability to verbalise is impaired along with the ability to do simple tasks.
- The adverse effects continue as long as the blood sugar level is not restored to normal.
These findings are the result of a study carried out by University of Virginia on the effect of hyperglycaemia in diabetics.
The long term adverse effects of diabetes are -
- Memory can be impaired leading to permanent disability in cognitive function. This is a risk in patients who have had diabetes for many years.
- The arteries can be hardened due to diabetes leading to stroke. Brain function can be destroyed due to this.
These conclusions were drawn in a Harvard University study. The basic premise of these studies is the simple fact that brain needs large amount of glucose to perform its functions, and diabetes hampers the ability of brain cells to absorb it for use. That is why uncontrolled diabetes has the potential to affect the patient’s memory and capacity to think.
Diabetics are at much higher risk of suffering from a stroke and vascular diseases compared to non-diabetics. As already mentioned stroke can result in permanent brain damage including impaired speech, thinking and mobility. If you consider the risk factors of Alzheimer’s, along with age over 65 years, high cholesterol and high blood pressure, uncontrolled diabetes also features prominently.
Relation between insulin and the brain
Since the production and processing of insulin in the body is affected by diabetes, it would be in order to know the relation between insulin and brain functions. Earlier, it was thought that insulin is only related to the digestive system but now it has been linked to important brain functions by the medical professionals. Survival of brain cells has been found to be dependent on glucose as well as level of insulin. There is reason to believe that in some circumstance when insulin level drops to very low levels, the damage caused to the brain would be irreversible.
Read more articles on Understand Diabetes
Source: Onlymyhealth editorial team Mar 01, 2012
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