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Poorly Managed Diabetes Impairs Cognition

Recently, a study published in the journal Neurology indicated that within just 2 years diabetes can reduce cognitive ability by an average of 12 percent. Type 2 diabetes, the most common form, affects over 29 million Americans and can lead to a breakdown of a variety of body functions, not the least of which is cognition. The decrease in blood flow regulation in those affected by diabetes is presumed to be the root cause of the decline in mental functioning. In persons with diabetes, insulin production is affected leading to poor control of blood sugar levels, blood flow, and vessel dilation. these factors combine to reduce the efficacy of blood flow to critical regions, and as particularly noticeable in the extremities. However, this recent study suggests that all critical body functions are affected, and relevant to this study, the functioning of the brain. By reviewing a number of adults, some with diabetes and some without, researchers found that those with consistently high blood sugar levels had a significant decline in brain function over a two year study period. Combining observational data, memory tests, and MRI scans, it was found that blood vessels in the brain did not dilate properly to allow blood flow to regions of the brain resulting in decreased mental function. Additionally, over time this inactivity caused a weakening of these muscles that only compounded the problem. As a result of the study, researchers are calling for better identification and management of diabetes symptoms to better regulate blood sugar levels. Ineffective condition management is essentially a cause of what appears to be premature aging resulting in serious system failure.
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