Does diabetes affect your memory?

Does diabetes affect your memory?

Question:
Tanya Edwards, M.D.
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Tanya Edwards, M.D.

A family physician, Dr. Tanya Edwards is passionate about using nutrition for the prevention and treatment of chronic illness.  She... Read more

Absolutely. Diabetes is a condition that puts your body in a highly inflammatory state. In a type 2 diabetic, high levels of insulin are constantly circulating throughout the body, which affects the arteries, which in turn impacts memory. Here’s how it works: The insulin increases circulating inflammatory molecules (called oxidative stress), which seems to have a significant detrimental impact on the brain cells. The direct impact of diabetes on the vascular system interferes with the body’s process of bringing oxygenated blood to all parts of the body, including the billions of tiny capillaries that feed the brain. If the brain isn’t fed proper amounts of nutrient-rich oxygen, more oxidative stress occurs, which shows up in the form of memory loss and declined cognitive function (essentially the ability to think, reason and remember). In the June 2010 journal Diabetes Care, researchers noted a 2.6 times greater cognitive decline among middle-aged persons with diabetes compared to people without diabetes.

Improving your diabetes by controlling elevations in blood sugar with medication, or reversing it with diet and exercise, will not only help improve the level of inflammation in your body, but it should in turn decrease the magnitude of that cognitive decline.

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