3 Ways Diabetes Affects Your Brain

brain diabetes managment mind May 23, 2023

Diabetes affects your whole body. Why? Because it affects blood vessels and nerves. And of course that includes your brain. There have been recent studies that have linked type 2 diabetes with decreased mental functioning. Because of the damage to the blood vessels leading into the brain, they're causing vascular cognitive impairment or vascular dementia.

So how does it work? High blood sugar damages blood vessels and nerves and causes a lot of inflammation. Inflammation sets off a whole cascade of other processes to manage it but creates more damage. Damage to the nerves is a problem because eventually they stop communicating with each other. Now you have problems thinking, problems in your executive function, problems making decisions and more.

With diabetes, you tend to be metabolically unfit, meaning your body can’t use both sources of fuel it has access to – sugar and fat. So there is a buildup of fat that you can’t burn because your insulin is too high. When insulin is high, it blocks fat burning which makes it very difficult to lose weight. All these things create inflammation, which further damages blood vessels and the nerves. One of the consequences of nerves not talking to each other is something called brain fog.

A lot of us have probably experienced some brain fog over time. This brain fog leads to poor concentration, mood swings, irritability, memory problems, confusion, and more. So what do you do?

First, get your blood sugar into better control. I know I say this a lot but it is the key to avoiding complications and getting into better health. Eat whole food you prepare, avoid alcohol and drugs, exercise and get good sleep.

Second, once you get it there, you want your blood sugar to be fairly stable. You want to avoid big spikes or swings in blood sugar – high and low. These spikes do a lot of damage so, keep it as consistent and steady as possible.

Third, talk to your doctor about what you're experiencing. If you're on medication and/or insulin, you may need to make some changes there and your doctor will guide you in that.

Fourth, if you're experiencing highs and lows in blood sugar or brain fog or just off, keep a journal to write down the food that you're eating, the activity that you're doing and how you are feeling. That will give you a better idea of where you need to make some changes for better control.

And finally, in a situation like this, where you're not remembering things and it's causing all kinds of problems, write things down. Don't rely on your memory. Begin with getting your blood sugar lower and a lot of that stuff will reverse and, and hopefully your brain will get back to a healthier state.

Dr Elaine


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This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace the medical advice of your doctor or healthcare provider. Please consult your healthcare provider for advice about a specific medical condition.


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