Self-Care & Motivation
Reviewed by

Shifa Fathima

Can Diabetes Cause Brain Fog? 

Diabetes affects the patient's ability to produce or utilise insulin appropriately. Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas that helps the body use glucose or sugar to gain energy. It also monitors blood sugar levels, a process vital for the normal functioning of different organs, including the brain.

As sugar is the main source of energy for the brain, any fluctuation in blood sugar levels due to diabetes can lead to brain fog. This condition can further aggravate cognitive impairments, such as mood swings, decreased concentration and memory issues. Let’s learn about the reasons for brain fog and different ways to manage the signs of brain fog.

What is Brain Fog?

Brain fog is not a scientific term but more of a blanket term to describe how someone is experiencing the world. As its name suggests, brain fog makes people feel as though they’re enshrouded in a fog so thick they don’t know how to find their way out. Diabetes can be a key cause of brain fog along with memory loss that often is a part of it.

Symptoms of Brain Fog with Diabetes

There are no definite brain fog symptoms in diabetics as different people get affected in different ways. While some might suffer from minor cognitive issues, others might find it difficult to think or function. Some of the common brain fog symptoms with diabetes include:

  • Irritability
  • Fatigue
  • Confusion
  • Dizziness
  • Issues in solving problems
  • Memory loss
  • Inability to find the right terms
  • Lack of concentration
  • Inability to take in information
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What Causes Brain Fog with Diabetes?

Wondering what causes brain fog? One of the most common causes of brain fog is too high or too low blood sugar levels, and brain fog is necessarily the human brain's way of responding to poorly managed blood sugar levels.

High Blood Sugar Levels

Insulin allows sugar in the bloodstream to enter the body cells. In diabetics, sugar cannot enter the cells due to a lack of insulin, which results in high blood sugar or hyperglycemia. This condition can further damage the blood vessels causing poor blood circulation throughout the body, especially in the brain. And when the human brain does not get sufficient blood, it cannot think clearly.

Also, excessive sugar in the blood can increase the levels of neurotransmitters in the brain, which can damage the brain cells and nerves, resulting in brain inflammation. This condition further contributes to cognitive issues, such as brain fog and memory loss.

Low Blood Sugar Levels

Conversely, low blood sugar levels or hypoglycemia is when the body does not get sufficient glucose or sugar for energy. Hence, the brain cells are also unable to function properly, resulting in a lack of concentration in diabetics. It can be a side effect of diabetes medicines, skipping meals and indulging in an intense exercise regimen. Headaches, fatigue and brain fog are the after-effects of low blood sugar.

Stress

So, can stress cause brain fog? Both stress and brain functionalities are interrelated. While brain fog is very common, it can be a sign of different medical conditions, stress being one of them. Consider your brain as a computer and stress as those programs that run in the background and take up a lot of memory slowing down everything else. So, even if you do not focus on your stress, it still affects your brain and contributes to different physical symptoms, such as upset stomach, fatigue and uneasiness. Stress-related brain fog is not very difficult to deal with.

Treatment for Brain Fog with Diabetes

The first line of treatment for diabetic brain fog is to keep blood sugar levels in a healthy range, neither too low nor too high. There is no specific or major treatment for the condition, and just a few basic steps can manage your diabetes and brain fog. 

  • Take medicines for diabetes as instructed, without skipping doses.
  • Follow all dietary instructions as recommended by your healthcare specialist. Include different vegetables, whole grains, fruits, protein-rich foods, and healthy fats like nuts.
  • Exercise every day for at least half an hour. Free-hand exercise, walking, jogging, and swimming are very good for diabetics. 
  • Stop consuming foods that have more sugar or are fried and processed. 
  • Ask the dietician about the foods you can and cannot eat to treat your condition.
  • Drinking at least 2-3 litres of water is crucial. 
  • Every day sleep for 6-8 hours to keep the brain fog in check. 

How to Prevent Brain Fog with Diabetes?

The key to preventing brain fog with diabetes is managing diabetes in the first place. When blood sugar levels are stable, there is no damage to the blood vessels and nerves in the brain, thus, no cognitive impairments.

If you think your brain fog results from taking certain medicine, talk to your doctor and switch to some other drug to avoid low blood sugar levels. Remember that brain fog is not a medical condition but a symptom of blood sugar fluctuations. So you can reverse it with proper treatment.

Measures like having a balanced diet and adjusting your medicines will help you improve cognitive ability and lower the chances of developing brain fog and other conditions like dementia and Alzheimer's disease in the near future.

Bottomline

It is easy to reverse diabetic brain fog symptoms like mood swings, decreased concentration and memory problems with proper treatment. Contact your doctor and get instant help if you find that the brain fog is worsening or not improving even after different medicines and procedures.

FAQs

How does Diabetes affect you emotionally?

People living with diabetes for a long time or have just been diagnosed require good support for the different emotions they feel. Such emotions include feeling depressed, burned out, or low.

How does Type 2 Diabetes affect the Brain?

According to several studies, type 2 diabetes is linked to improper mental functioning, cognitive impairment, dementia or memory loss, and Alzheimer’s disease.

What is Diabetes Brain Fog Disorder?

Common diabetes brain fog disorders include Alzheimer's disease, memory loss, and Parkinson's disease. Long-term, untreated brain fog can also impact an individual's quality of life.

References

https://www.healthline.com/health/diabetes/brain-fog-diabetes

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