Type 2 diabetes has become so commonplace now, with over 20 million people having the disease in the U.S. alone, that it can be easy to overlook how it affects the body. Besides putting those who have the condition at risk of heart attacks, blindness and amputation caused from poor blood flow, diabetes also affects the brain.
The reason that diabetes can cause someone to struggle with mental clarity is because the higher glucose levels impede the circulatory system. The higher the glucose levels, the higher the risk becomes.
One of the risks with diabetes is narrowing of the blood vessels. When the blood vessels become narrowed, there’s a greater risk of inflammation as well as less blood flow.
This affects all of the body’s organs – especially the brain. Being diagnosed with diabetes means that you don’t have the same quality of blood control that someone without the disease has.
Your brain won’t receive the amount of blood flow that it needs to have the sharpest cognitive skills that it could and should have in order to function at its top level. When you’re busy doing something, your brain sends the blood wherever it’s needed in the cerebellum.
This means that when you’re working on a project physically or mentally, you’ll be at a disadvantage. Your ability to reason and perform certain things will be impaired because you won’t have the proper amount of blood flow that you need to have.
The amount of blood flow that your brain is forced to perform without can be higher than 50%. Some studies have pegged the loss of blood flow as much as 65%. This decrease can cause you to struggle to make decisions.
It can cause you to have sudden lapses in memory and give you the inability to accomplish day to day tasks. You can also experience more brain aging than people who don’t have diabetes.
Long term, diabetes can significantly impair your ability to perform problem solving thinking tasks as well as impede your brain’s ability to remember things. The higher levels of glucose in the blood directly affect the brain – not just because of a lack of proper blood flow, but also because of the inflammation.
The inflammation is just as damaging to your brain’s cells as the lack of proper blood flow is. According to Dr. David Perlmutter, a neurologist and best-selling author, “inflammation is a cornerstone mechanism related to progressive destruction that occurs in the brain as we age, as well as Alzheimer’s disease.”
It’s important that if you have diabetes, you take steps to prevent or improve problems with blood flow. For many people Type 2 diabetes CAN BE reversed and everyone with Type 2 can improve their long-term brain health by doing those things that improve flow and reduce inflammation such as:
- Keep blood sugar under strict control through the proper diet (rather than total dependency on medications),
- Regular exercise, even 20 minutes a day of walking can have a big impact,
- Focus on getting adequate sleep and rest EVERY night.