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Diabetes And Your Brain: Understand The Connection & Safeguard Your Brain

Diabetes And Your Brain: Understand The Connection & Safeguard Your Brain

Diabetes And Your Brain: Understand The Connection & Safeguard Your Brain

Diabetes is characterized by high blood sugar levels that result from the body’s inability to produce and/or use insulin. As can be imagined, these increased blood sugar levels have a harmful impact on the whole body, and the brain is no exception.
The human brain is a complex organ, and hence is very sensitive to the harmful effects of high or blood sugar levels, since glucose and oxygen are the main fuel for brain function.
Now diabetes is a double edged sword — both hyperglycemia (or high blood glucose that comes with poorly managed diabetes) as well as hypoglycemia (or low blood glucose that can be caused by diabetes treatment) can negatively impact the brain. For diabetics, chance of brain related complications is just one more reason to keep your diabetes under control.
Effects of High Blood Glucose On The Brain
High levels of blood glucose entering the brain cause damage to blood vessels over time. The brain’s white matter is the area where nerves are linked and communicate in order to carry out every day activities of life. Think of the white matter as the subway of the brain, providing the essential connectivity, and uniting different regions of the brain into networks that perform various mental operations. When excess blood sugar levels damage the small blood vessels of the brain, this connectivity is disrupted and the result is often a dramatic disturbance of normal mental function. Over time, this damage causes changes in thinking, known as vascular cognitive impairment or vascular dementia.
Several scientific research studies have found that the longer y Continue reading

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What Infections Are You at Risk for With Diabetes?

What Infections Are You at Risk for With Diabetes?

People with diabetes are more susceptible to developing infections, as high blood sugar levels can weaken the patient's immune system defenses. In addition, some diabetes-related health issues, such as nerve damage and reduced blood flow to the extremities, increase the body's vulnerability to infection.
What Kinds of Infections Are Most Likely If You Have Diabetes?
When you have diabetes, you are especially prone to foot infections, yeast infections, urinary tract infections, and surgical site infections.
In addition, yeast cells (Candida albicans) are more likely to colonize the mucous membranes (e.g., mouth, vagina, nose) in people with diabetes. These Candida
cells then interfere with the normal infection-fighting action of white blood cells. With white blood cells impaired, Candida can replicate unchecked, causing yeast infections. High blood sugar levels contribute to this process.
Other Sources of Diabetes-Related Infection
Diabetic neuropathy (nerve damage) causes problems with sensation, particularly in the feet. This lack of sensation sometimes means foot injuries go unnoticed. Untreated injuries can lead to infection. Some types of neuropathy
can also lead to dry, cracked skin, which allows a convenient entry point for infection into the body.
People with diabetes often have low blood flow to the extremities. With less blood flow, the body is less able to mobilize normal immune defenses and nutrients that promote the body's ability to fight infection and promote healing.
Why Are Infections Risky for People With Diabetes?
People with diabetes are more adversely af Continue reading

How to reverse a diabetes diagnosis by losing weight

How to reverse a diabetes diagnosis by losing weight

Here's something shocking to think about: 40 percent of Americans are obese — and that number is the highest it's ever been. And here's another jaw-dropping statistic: 29 million Americans have type 2 diabetes.
If you fall into either of these categories, the good news is there are simple steps you can take to make lasting changes. For example, you only need to lose 5 percent of your body weight to seriously start reducing your risk for type 2 diabetes. And you only need to lose 1 gram of fat from your pancreas (where your insulin lives) to reverse the symptoms of diabetes, according to one small study.
The connection between a small amount of weight loss with a large health benefit is not new. A 2012 study found reducing body mass index (BMI) by just five units could help reverse diabetes, regardless of your initial BMI. Diabetes can be a confusing topic — here are a few things you should know.
There are two very different types of diabetes.
Type 1 diabetes involves the absence of insulin, a critical hormone needed to help control blood sugar levels. It has often been referred to as juvenile diabetes or insulin dependent diabetes. Type 1 diabetes represents a very small percentage of total diabetes cases and has nothing to do with being overweight or obese.
The other form is called type 2 diabetes (often referred to as adult onset or noninsulin dependent). Type 2 diabetes makes up 95 percent of all diabetes cases and it’s highly correlated to weight. Individuals with type 2 diabetes produce insulin, but the hormone is not sensitive enough to the rise and fall of bloo Continue reading

The Invisibility of Type 1 Diabetes

The Invisibility of Type 1 Diabetes

Living with Type 1 diabetes is neither a fire walk nor a piece of cake. Pardon the pun. But often it feels like a fire walk. Every day and night watching your blood sugar to keep it in a safe place. Calculating and guessing all day long how everything you do will affect your immediate and long-term survival.
Everyone seems to think these calculations are effortless. You do it every day. You’ve done it a million times. But it’s not effortless. You start all over every day. Always guessing.
I’ve had Type 1 diabetes for 43 years. I turned sixty two last week. I’ve lived with diabetes two-thirds of my life. I don’t know what it’s like to have a day I don’t stick a needle into my finger six to ten times to check my blood sugar. A day I don’t stick a syringe into my body four to six times that’s filled with insulin. Too little, too much, both have consequences.
I don’t know what it’s like to eat without calculating how many carbohydrates I’m eating. Sometimes wondering should I eat one more bite or less for the shot I took. Lately I tried joining my husband for a walk after dinner. It made my blood sugar plummet. The only way to make it rise, so I don’t die of low blood sugar overnight, is to eat. I truly hate that.
I don’t know what it’s like to do things on the spur of the moment. There is so much to consider when you have Type 1 diabetes.
This isn’t meant to be a poor me story. There are millions of people who live with far worse illnesses than I do. And, in truth, there is much diabetes has given me: strength, pride, the motivation to maintain Continue reading

Genetic Screening for the Risk of Type 2 Diabetes

Genetic Screening for the Risk of Type 2 Diabetes

The prevalence and incidence of type 2 diabetes, representing >90% of all cases of diabetes, are increasing rapidly throughout the world. The International Diabetes Federation has estimated that the number of people with diabetes is expected to rise from 366 million in 2011 to 552 million by 2030 if no urgent action is taken. Furthermore, as many as 183 million people are unaware that they have diabetes (www.idf.org). Therefore, the identification of individuals at high risk of developing diabetes is of great importance and interest for investigators and health care providers.
Type 2 diabetes is a complex disorder resulting from an interaction between genes and environment. Several risk factors for type 2 diabetes have been identified, including age, sex, obesity and central obesity, low physical activity, smoking, diet including low amount of fiber and high amount of saturated fat, ethnicity, family history, history of gestational diabetes mellitus, history of the nondiabetic elevation of fasting or 2-h glucose, elevated blood pressure, dyslipidemia, and different drug treatments (diuretics, unselected β-blockers, etc.) (1–3).
There is also ample evidence that type 2 diabetes has a strong genetic basis. The concordance of type 2 diabetes in monozygotic twins is ~70% compared with 20–30% in dizygotic twins (4). The lifetime risk of developing the disease is ~40% in offspring of one parent with type 2 diabetes, greater if the mother is affected (5), and approaching 70% if both parents have diabetes. In prospective studies, we have demonstrated that first-degree family h Continue reading

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