According to the World Health Organisation, 422 million people worldwide are living with diabetes. Diabetes is a chronic condition where the body is unable to maintain normal blood sugar levels. The underproduction of insulin hormone by the pancreas leads to increased blood glucose volumes. Sometimes, the pancreas produces normal insulin levels, but the body is not able to utilise it properly, leading to an overproduction of the hormone before the body gets tired.
What is memory loss? And what causes memory loss? It is the gradual decline of a person’s ability to remember or store information. It can start with something as simple as forgetting common words, repeating the same questions, or taking a long time to complete once-familiar tasks.
There is an intricate relationship between diabetes and memory loss but can diabetes cause memory loss? Diabetes and memory loss can go hand in hand if the anomalous blood sugar levels cause damage to the peripheral nerves of the body and the brain. Depending on the severity, it can manifest into a short-term or long-term complication.
Insulin hormone regulates the cognitive operations of the brain, and the brain cells can sometimes fail to respond to insulin. This leads to degeneration in brain function, bringing about episodes of forgetfulness and subsequent memory loss. If the condition is allowed to progress uncontrolled, high blood sugar levels can damage the peripheral nerves, causing cognitive disruption.
Understanding memory loss and its association with diabetes is crucial for an accurate diagnosis. For a person with mild diabetes, the symptoms of memory loss may be short-term - like difficulty in concentrating, brain fog, and forgetting recent events. But, for someone with severe diabetes, the condition worsens faster. The episodes of forgetfulness start disrupting daily activities. It may trigger confusion and behavioral change, sometimes even leading to delirium.
Does diabetes affect memory? Studies have demonstrated that diabetes is linked to decreased blood flow to the brain. Abnormal blood sugar levels damage the nerve cells, glial cells, and blood vessels of the peripheral nerves.
Now, we come to the question, “can diabetes cause memory loss?” The points illustrated below give a step-wise overview of how blood vessel damage in diabetes can lead to memory loss:
By now, we know that the answer to “does diabetes affect memory” is in the affirmative. However, can memory loss from diabetes be reversed? The good news is that it is possible to alter the implications. Here are some ways by which you can prevent the progression of diabetes and subsequently avoid diabetes memory loss:
Include whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and lean meats in your diet. Consume foods rich in Omega-3 proteins. Steer clear of processed foods and artificial sweeteners. Keep an eye on the portion size and calories.
Avoid crash diets and try to lose weight naturally. Do structured exercise routines daily. Exercise improves glycaemic control, prevents obesity, enhances muscle mobility, and reduces cardiovascular complications.
Monitor your blood glucose levels and maintain a track register. Show this to your medical practitioner during appointments.
Maintain personal hygiene. Guard yourself against foot infections and dental issues.
Limit the consumption of alcohol and nicotine to keep your blood pressure in the normal range.
Anxiety and depression can lead to poor glycaemic control. Reach out to your support system for solutions. Keep your mind restful and avoid getting overworked. Interact and socialize more to keep away from depression.
A sedentary approach is one of the main risk factors for diabetes. Stay active; it helps increase insulin sensitivity.
Eating insufficient carbohydrates may lead to hypoglycemia. Forgetting whether a meal was eaten and having it again puts you at risk of hyperglycemia. Make a note of your meals until the condition improves.
Engage in brain exercises like solving puzzles, meditation, learning new skills, building vocabulary, etc. Incorporating these simple exercises in your daily routine can sharpen your mental abilities and memory power.
Once we have understood what is memory loss and what causes memory loss, it becomes clear that diabetes is just one of the many reasons for memory decline. Understanding memory loss symptoms can help identify and plan a diagnosis. Diabetes and memory loss share an association and can lead to cognitive issues and vascular dementia. However, proper management of diabetes and a high degree of self-care goes a long way in keeping the memory intact.
In most cases, proper diabetes management can protect your memory and even reverse memory loss effects. An appropriate diet, regular exercise, and routine medication can help improve cognitive function. Brain fog or short-term memory loss is common due to too low or too high blood sugar levels. This condition can be reversed by bringing blood sugar levels back to normal.
Fluctuating blood sugar levels can impair the brain’s cognitive functioning. This manifests through symptoms such as irritability, dizziness, confusion, forgetfulness, anxiety, mood swings, rapid breathing, inability to concentrate, and fatigue.
Type 1 diabetes can cause sudden spikes or dips in blood sugar levels. This may lead to frequent incidences of forgetfulness and slower reaction times. Research has suggested that a person with type 1 diabetes is 83% more likely to develop diabetes memory loss and dementia.
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