Is your doctor nagging you nonstop about reigning in your blood sugar? Or maybe he’s been needling you about turning your rising glucose around “before it’s too late.”
Well, I hate to be the bearer of bad news. But in THIS case, your doc is correct.
I once had a physician explain to me like this. Raging blood sugar is kind of like having battery acid running through your veins. Just imagine how that would be doing all sorts of invisible damage.
We already know type-2 diabetes sends your risk for all kinds of other chronic conditions rising. When you’re diabetic, you’re at a significantly higher risk for heart disease, kidney disease, nerve problems, hearing impairment, eye problems, Alzheimer’s, and more.
And now, a new study has raised yet another red flag. Those same high blood sugars could be hitting the fast forward button on brain aging. In fact, they may be causing accelerated brain shrink.
Taking a deep dive into the brain data
Now, if you’re a regular Healthier Talk reader, you already know that ALL of our brains shrink a bit as we age. I know it sounds strange. But it’s perfectly normal.
But a faster and bigger shrink could spell trouble for our thinkers. And that’s what researchers spotted in the brains of folks with diabetes.
They uncovered this disturbing link when they took a deep dive into the details of 20,000 people in the massive UK Biobank dataset. The info contained brain scans and brain function measurements on healthy folks and people diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.
The researchers drilled down into the data to determine which brain and cognitive changes were due to typical aging and which were linked to diabetes. And then, just to be sure they were right, they bounced their findings up against a massive meta-study of over 90 other studies.
The diabetic brain ages FASTER
The team found that the normal brain aging I mentioned earlier was fast-tracked in the folks with diabetes. In fact, their brains which were regularly swimming in elevated blood sugar were aging around 26 percent FASTER.
Both aging and type-2 diabetes were linked to changes in working memory, learning, and flexible thinking… or what’s known altogether as “executive function.” Plus, overall processing speeds dropped in both groups too.
But those folks with diabetes had an additional 13.1 percent drop in that executive function BEYOND the group with normal brain aging. And there was also an extra 6.7 percent drop in processing speed compared to the usual agers.
When the researchers compared brain structure and activity, the differences were even more glaringly obvious. As we age, we lose gray matter in an area of the brain called the ventral striatum.
The scientists spotted that expected shrink in both groups. But there was strikingly more loss… 6.2 percent… in the brains of the folks with diabetes.
Plus, the diabetics had additional brain shrinking in other areas of the brain that aren’t typically affected by normal brain aging. And overall, the shrinkage became greater over time, with those who had been diabetic longer experiencing greater deterioration.
Reverse your diabetes risk
In other words, it’s vital you do as your doctor suggests and turn that elevated blood sugar back around NOW. And you can start by simply unseating your seat more often.
You see, being sedentary slows your metabolism to a crawl. And that sets off a domino effect of gaining weight, trouble taming your blood sugar, and ultimately a prediabetes diagnosis. (Sound familiar?)
Every hour spent sitting and being sedentary puts you another step closer to a full-blown diabetes diagnosis. But researchers say you can start to turn it all around simply by getting up and moving every 30 minutes.
You don’t have to do a lot either. Some stretching, or maybe a few laps around the house, perhaps a brisk walk up and down your stairs. They all count. You just want to get out of your seat and move regularly to curb your blood sugar.
But don’t stop there. Consider getting more magnesium in your diet too. It’s a common mineral, but lots of us fall short. In fact, by the time we reach our senior years, up to 80 percent of us may join this unlucky group. And that could be contributing to your elevated blood sugar and rising diabetes risk.
To find out if you might be one of them, check out my earlier report, “6 signs of magnesium deficiency.”