Over 20 million people in the United States are currently living with diabetes. Type 1 diabetes results from a faulty pancreas that does not produce insulin. In the case of type 2 diabetes, the body is insensitive to insulin.
The way that this affects the brain, as it turns out, mimics another metabolic disease: Alzheimer’s disease. Here are three ways in which diabetes is very closely related to Alzheimer’s disease.
1. High Blood Sugar Levels Leads to Lower Cognitive Functioning
In 2013, the Journal of Alzheimer’s disease published an article that shocked people all over the world. A study reported that there is a strong link between elevated blood glucose levels and Alzheimer’s disease.
The study reported that people with elevated glucose levels also have elevated levels of a protein that is toxic to the brain. This protein leads to reduced cognitive functioning, as is the case with Alzheimer’s disease.
Some secondary evidence in the study also revealed that people with diabetes have lower levels of cognitive functioning and are at an increased risk of developing dementia than those without diabetes.
2. Amyloid Proteins Are Present Both in Diabetes And Alzheimer’s Disease
The Biophysical Society released a study that provided alarming evidence of a link between Alzheimer’s disease and diabetes. The study pertained to a certain peptide called amyloid protein, which is found in the plaque of the neurons in a person with Alzheimer’s disease. This peptide is also present in the pancreases of people with diabetes, according to the study.
3. Brains With Alzheimer’s Disease Are Low in Insulin; Diabetic Brains Are Insulin Resistant
The University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health published a study that reported signs of brain dysfunction among diabetes patients. Upon further research into these findings, the authors of the study found elevated levels of insulin resistant in the brains of people with diabetes. This, consequently, led to a reduced intake of glucose.
Likewise, a brain with Alzheimer’s disease also shows low amounts of insulin. With low levels of insulin, the brain is unable to take in any sugar. Sugar in this instance serves as brain fuel. With reduced amounts of ‘fuel’, the brain suffers from cognitive decline. This is true for both diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease.
Do you feel like your cognitive functioning is slipping? It could be! Talk to your doctor about your options to improve cognitive functioning.
The Advocate. URL Link. Retrieved October 16, 2017.