Healthy blood sugar lev­els im­por­tant as we age

South Shore Breaker - - Health& Wellness - COLIN MACLEOD HEALTH, NATURALLY [email protected]­col­in­macleod.com

New re­search has found that older peo­ple suf­fer­ing with type 2 di­a­betes have a higher rate of cog­ni­tive de­cline, specif­i­cally in ver­bal mem­ory and flu­ency mea­sures, over a five-year pe­riod.

This study from the Univer­sity of Tas­ma­nia and pub­lished in the jour­nal Di­a­betolo­gia, re­cruited 705 peo­ple aged 55-90 years within Tas­ma­nia. About half (348) of the par­tic­i­pants had type 2 di­a­betes. MRI brain scans and cog­ni­tive func­tion­ing tests were used to mea­sure brain size and brain func­tion three times over the course of the five-year study.

The re­searchers found that the peo­ple with type 2 di­a­betes had a sig­nif­i­cantly higher rate of de­cline in both ver­bal mem­ory and ver­bal flu­ency com­pared with the peo­ple with­out type 2 di­a­betes.

“Such ac­cel­er­ated cog­ni­tive de­cline may con­trib­ute to ex­ec­u­tive dif­fi­cul­ties in ev­ery­day ac­tiv­i­ties and health be­hav­iours — such as med­i­ca­tion com­pli­ance — which in turn may poorly in­flu­ence fu­ture vas­cu­lar health and cog­ni­tive de­cline, and pos­si­bly an ear­lier on­set of de­men­tia in those with type 2 di­a­betes,” said Dr. Michele Cal­lisaya, the study’s lead re­searcher.

The re­searchers found that at the be­gin­ning of the study the peo­ple with type 2 di­a­betes had a greater de­gree of brain at­ro­phy (shrink­ing) com­pared with peo­ple with­out type 2 di­a­betes. How­ever, through­out the five years of the study the type 2 di­a­bet­ics didn’t have a greater de­gree of brain at­ro­phy com­pared to the peo­ple with­out type 2 di­a­betes. The au­thors sug­gested that pos­si­bly this at­ro­phy in di­a­bet­ics could be oc­cur­ring at a younger age and is still a con­cern, de­spite not see­ing pro­gres­sion of at­ro­phy dur­ing the study.

“[T]ype 2 di­a­betes is as­so­ci­ated with a de­cline in ver­bal mem­ory and flu­ency over ap­prox­i­mately five years, but the ef­fect of di­a­betes on brain at­ro­phy may be­gin ear­lier, for ex­am­ple in midlife, given the ev­i­dence of greater brain at­ro­phy in peo­ple with T2D at the start of the study. If this is the case, both phar­ma­co­log­i­cal and life­style in­ter­ven­tions to pre­vent brain at­ro­phy in peo­ple with T2D may need to com­mence be­fore older age.”

Past re­search from 2015 pub­lished in the jour­nal Clin­i­cal In­ter­ven­tions in Aging found that the risk of de­vel­op­ing de­men­tia is 50 per cent to 150 per cent higher in peo­ple with type 2 di­a­betes. With this in mind and with the re­sults of this re­cent re­search, type 2 di­a­betes can be seen as a sig­nif­i­cant risk fac­tor for cog­ni­tive de­cline.

Then there is the ques­tion of what a type 2 di­a­betic can do to pro­tect them­selves from cog­ni­tive de­cline. Luck­ily there is a lot that they can do. Type 2 di­a­betes can be suc­cess­fully treated with diet and life­style changes in the ma­jor­ity of cases. Goals of achiev­ing a healthy body weight, low­er­ing blood sugar, nor­mal­iz­ing blood pres­sure and es­tab­lish­ing healthy di­etary and ex­er­cise habits can vastly im­prove a type 2 di­a­betic’s phys­i­cal and cog­ni­tive health.

Do you have ques­tions about low­er­ing blood sugar and man­ag­ing di­a­betes? Ask your natur­o­pathic doc­tor.

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Hav­ing a han­dle on blood sugar is key to our phys­i­cal and cog­ni­tive health.

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