Cognition and brain structure affected by dysglycemia in older adults: Study

By: Dr. Victor Marchione | Brain Function | Tuesday, January 10, 2017 - 07:00 AM

Cognition and brain structure affected by dysglycemia in older adults: StudyCognition and brain structure can be affected by dysglycemia – blood glucose abnormalities – in older adults. The researchers conducted a cross-sectional and longitudinal cohort study, examining the association of dysglycemia with cognitive function.

The researchers found that dysglycemia correlated with a higher number of brain infarcts, white matter hyperintensities volume, and decreased total white matter, gray matter, and hippocampus volume cross-sectionally. There was also a decrease in gray matter volume longitudinally. Dysglycemia was associated with reduced language performance, speed, and visuospatial function.

The authors wrote, “Our results suggest that dysglycemia affects brain structure and cognition even in elderly survivors, evidenced by higher cerebrovascular disease, lower white and gray matter volume, and worse language and visuospatial function and cognitive speed.”

What is dysglycemia?

Dysglycemia refers to a change in blood glucose levels resulting in disease. Dysglycemia is not defined by specific levels. Rather, having an abnormally high, low, or unstable level of blood glucose indicates an underlying problem that requires further investigation.

While type 1 and type 2 diabetes are the most common types of dysglycemia, other examples of blood sugar abnormalities are gestational diabetes, pre-diabetic conditions, as well as drug-related and genetically related abnormalities of the blood sugar levels.

Causes of dysglycemia

Dysglycemia can be a result of hereditary or environmental factors, or a combination of both. Genes can predispose an individual to developing dysglycemia over time just as much as certain lifestyle habits can, too. A diet high in unhealthy fats, sugars, and processed foods can cause a person to develop dysglycemia. Lacking certain vitamins and minerals that enhance the body’s sensitivity to insulin can also contribute to dysglycemia.

Treating dysglycemia naturally

Dysglycemia can be managed naturally with the following tips:

  • Regularly check your blood glucose levels
  • Discuss with your doctor whether you need to be taking any medications and ensure you are adhering to the treatment plan
  • Maintain a healthy body weight
  • Choose healthy foods, especially those that make you feel full longer, so you don’t snack on unhealthy foods
  • Avoid mangos, bananas, custard apples, beets, and potatoes as these can trigger changes to your glucose levels
  • Eat smaller meals frequently throughout the day instead of three large meals to prevent spikes and drops in glucose levels.

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Sources:

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/jgs.14551/full

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