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Prediabetes can damage your brain

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By Ernie Mundell and Robert Preidt

HealthDay Reporters

WEDNESDAY February 17, 2021 (HealthDay News) – “Prediabetes” — or blood sugar level are raised but not yet tipped in the open air Diabetes – may pose a threat to brain health, new British research suggests.

“As an observational study, it cannot prove that higher blood sugar levels lead to deteriorating brain health. However, we believe there is a potential link that needs to be investigated further.” , said Victoria Garfield, lead author of the study. She is at the Institute of Cardiovascular Science and MRC Unit for Lifelong Health and Aging, University College London.

In their research, Garfield’s team analyzed UK Biobank data on half a million people, an average of 58 years old. four years, and were 54% more likely to develop vascular dementia – a common type of dementia caused by decreased blood flow to the brain – over an average of eight years.

The associations between prediabetes and mental (“cognitive”) decline / vascular dementia remained even after researchers took into account other potential risk factors, including age, smoking, weight, level of heart disease and poverty.

Prediabetes was not associated with an increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease, Noted the Garfield team.

An American diabetes expert said the results were not surprising, given that doctors have long known that full-blown diabetes increases the risk of dementia.

“The bottom line is that the cognitive risk associated with high glucose levels occurs on a spectrum,” said Dr. Minisha Sood, endocrinologist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. So even at the pre-diabetic stage, “where the body overproduces insulin in order to maintain normal blood sugar levels,” brain damage may be taking place, she said.

Sood believes that people who are in a prediabetic state should be warned by their doctors of the dangers.

The UK team also looked at people with full-blown type 2 diabetes and found that they were three times more likely to develop vascular dementia and also more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease than those with low blood sugar was normal.


The study was recently published online in the journal Diabetes, obesity and metabolism.

“Previous research has found a link between poorer cognitive outcomes and diabetes, but our study is the first to investigate how relatively high blood sugar – but not yet diabetes – can affect our brain health,” Garfield noted. in a college press release.

Dr Barbara Keber is President of Family Medicine at Glen Cove Hospital in Glen Cove, NY. Reading the new findings, she said it made “sense” that prediabetes could interfere with blood flow to the brain, because it has the same effect elsewhere in the body.

But Keber also noted that too strict blood sugar control has been linked to hypoglycemia (dangerous drops in blood sugar) in patients, which has also been linked to “increased risks of developing cognitive decline and dementia. “.

So, “the bottom line here is that we need to prevent prediabetes and diabetes as well as control the glucose levels in those diagnosed. without causing hypoglycemia, to prevent the development of cognitive decline and vascular dementia, ”Keber said.

Meanwhile, the average person with prediabetes can also do a lot to get rid of this threat to their health.

“For the layman population, they should follow a diet that lowers the risk of developing diabetes, exercise regularly – both isometric (strength training) and aerobic (cardiac training) – to reduce weight gain and prevent weight loss. development of both prediabetes and diabetes, ”Keber said.

More information

The American Academy of Family Physicians has more on prediabetes.

SOURCES: Barbara Keber, MD, president, family medicine, Glen Cove Hospital, Glen Cove, NY; Minisha Sood, MD, endocrinologist, Lenox Hill Hospital, New York; University College London, press release, February 11, 2021

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