6 signs of Alzheimer’s due to high sugar levels
Cognitive disorders develop gradually and do not necessarily exhibit symptoms that are easily noticed. Several known discomforts overlap with other conditions making it difficult for doctors to diagnose the condition. However, one of the primary concerns associated with common conditions is changes in daily nutrition. Sugar intake is a specific risk factor that greatly determines the progression of these disorders. Here is how sugar can affect the overall outlook of living with dementia and Alzheimer’s.
Symptoms of Alzheimer’s and dementia
Dementia is not a disease but a general group of disorders that even covers Alzheimer’s, mainly exhibiting the following symptoms:
Problems with memory
Difficulty in problem-solving due to reduced analytical skills
Difficulty getting tasks done
Confusion and poor judgment
Keeping track of activities
Changes in mood triggered by emotional responses
These are just the most common and noticeable signs of developing Alzheimer’s. There are many factors ranging from changes in daily nutrition to poor lifestyle choices, that impact the progression of these conditions. However, high blood sugar is a primary risk factor associated with a significant number of known symptoms. It’s one of the reasons people who develop type 1 or type 2 diabetes are at an increased risk of developing dementia over those who do not have diabetes.
Signs of excessive sugar intake noticeable among affected patients
Sugar is a widely and excessively used condiment that enhances the flavor of foods and beverages. However, consuming beyond the recommended limit will certainly trigger the following flare-ups that affect cognitive function.
Problems with memory
One of the earliest signs of cognitive decline is problems with memory. Experiencing difficulties processing information, reduced analytical abilities, and generally having trouble comprehending information are all clear signs of cognitive decline. As the blood glucose levels in the bloodstream continue to increase, it will further affect a person’s ability to retain short-term and long-term information. These are also the primary symptoms with memory linked to conditions like Alzheimer’s and dementia that worsen as the disease progresses.
Increased mood swings
Many studies suggest excessive sugar intake has a detrimental effect on one’s mood in general. Recent group studies are indicative of the fact that elevated levels of blood glucose impair the brain’s ability to process emotional responses. People with diabetes are already at an elevated risk and experience emotional distress with underlying conditions like Alzheimer’s. Acute hyperglycemia, one of the common complications linked to people with type 2 diabetes, also triggers anxiety among adults. Further, studies have also linked sugar as one of the trigger factors for depression among young people and seniors. Excessive sugar in any form triggers a chemical imbalance that affects the composition of mood-boosting hormones that control emotional responses. These are clear signs of cognitive disorders. And it all comes down to the imbalance in blood sugar that increases insulin sensitivity triggering symptoms among those who are pre-diabetic or heavily diabetic.
Decreased mental capacity
Elevated blood glucose levels in the bloodstream damage healthy red blood cells. These cells carry freshly oxygenated blood from the lungs to the brain. Fewer red blood cells mean the brain is not receiving enough oxygen to process information. Prolonged hypoxia (oxygen deprivation) can affect the brain’s ability to promote learning, information retention, and even the formation of new memories. High blood sugar triggers inflammation in the brain cells, disrupting information flow between the intricate network of nerves. These triggers create communication gaps that ultimately lead to cognitive decline. High blood glucose also triggers insulin sensitivity and causes a chemical imbalance in the brain that affects the organ’s overall function. The risk of these symptoms is high among people with type 2 diabetes, the most common type affecting a majority of young adults and seniors in the country. These factors indicate developing Alzheimer’s and dementia due to excessive sugar consumption.
False perception of taste
Sugar is empty calories meaning it adds no nutritional value. However, the carbohydrate it contains provides a short burst of energy that is quite rewarding. That’s one of the reasons why people have sugar cravings. However, these empty calories simply build up and trigger the excess release of glucose in the bloodstream. People with dementia can misunderstand certain flavors as the condition progresses, affecting their perception of taste. While sugar does not directly cause dementia, it worsens the symptoms linked to the condition triggering these false perceptions. An increase in cravings for foods and beverages in general shows that the affected person is not feeling satiated. This is a sign of dementia progressing, triggered due to an imbalance in blood sugar levels.
Type 1 diabetes and dementia
A recent study conducted by the Kaiser Permanente Northern California institution showed that people with type 1 diabetes were at an elevated risk of developing dementia. Even the slightest increase in blood sugar levels could trigger a dramatic series of flare-ups that greatly affect one’s cognitive function, reasoning, and memory. Also, type 1 diabetes is mostly hereditary and chronic in nature. Faulty genes passed down to the next generation increase the risk of developing type 1 diabetes. The body is simply unable to produce the necessary insulin. High blood sugar affects these factors significantly, resulting in flare-ups that accelerate dementia symptoms.
Type 2 diabetes and Alzheimer’s
On the other end of the spectrum, adults diagnosed with type 2 diabetes were at a greater risk of developing Alzheimer’s. High blood sugar in the bloodstream leads to an increase in beta-amyloid proteins, one of the primary proteins in the brain that is linked to Alzheimer’s disease. Elevated blood glucose triggers insulin resistance among type 2 diabetics and causes increased brain dysfunction. This happens because the brain is unable to process the glucose to promote normal brain activity. The cognitive decline with type 2 diabetes is accelerated due to conditions like Alzheimer’s, where the primary trigger is high blood sugar.