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Article by Dr. Sheri Colberg, Phd, FACSM

 

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TYPE 2 DIABETES AND ALZHEIMER'S DISEASE


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A growing number of doctors and scientists believe that diabetes may trigger degenerative changes in the brain leading to Alzheimer's Disease.

This deeply distressing disorder typically strikes after the age of 60 and can take eight years or longer to ravage the brain, destroying memory in the process.

Experts calculate that up to 16 million Americans will develop Alzheimer's by 2050. That projection could increase if the rates of obesity-linked diabetes don't start to decrease.

However, better management of type 2 diabetes by maintaining strict glycemic control and reversing Insulin Resistance can reduce the chances of developing Alzheimer's or stave off the worst effects of senility. Increasing insulin sensitivity can help to reverse Insulin Resistance.

Doctor consulting with a patient and family member.Up to 75% of all Americans over 50 may suffer from Insulin Resistance – an imbalance of blood glucose and insulin that often underlies excess weight and obesity, as well as type 2 diabetes and the cluster of increased risk factors for a heart attack or stroke called Metabolic Syndrome (Syndrome X).

When someone is Insulin Resistant, the cells don't respond properly to insulin, which, at normal levels, helps glucose to pass through the cell walls to be converted into energy. As a result, too much glucose and insulin remain in the blood stream, often leading to obesity and the worsening of diabetes.

A lack of glucose entering the brain cells may cause them to malfunction or die. In turn, dying brain cells may then set the stage for the onset of Alzheimer's (1). Impaired blood flow to the brain caused by cardiovascular disease may also be a factor.

Man typing on a laptop.Many factors can cause Alzheimer's, so losing weight doesn't guarantee a senility-free old age. But people with type 2 diabetes who lose weight and control their condition by increasing insulin sensitivity might be able to keep aging brain cells healthy for longer (2).

Even if Alzheimer's does eventually develop in people with diabetes, the process of degeneration might be slower than usual if a healthier lifestyle is pursued.

The whole process of Alzheimer's may be kick-started by a bad diet, in particular, regular consumption of fast food. The latter contains lots of saturated fat, which can cause obesity and worsen the effects of diabetes.

Research has found that mice fed a fatty chow in a laboratory developed Insulin Resistance. That condition, in turn, fueled a problem thought to be central to the development of Alzheimer's: a build-up of a poisonous short protein called beta amyloid, which clumps together in a process that process damages brain cells and connections. The process is thought to play a central role in memory loss and other symptoms of Alzheimer's.

High blood levels of insulin, a key factor in Insulin Resistance, might lead to increased production of beta amyloid in the human brain (3).

Better control of diabetes may, however, significantly reduce the chances of developing Alzheimers or stave off its worst effects.

Couple sitting in front of a tree holding a present.The Insulite Diabetes Advanced Management System is a scientific breakthrough that could improve your health by increasing the insulin sensitivity of your cell walls. Greater insulin sensitivity can result in a huge improvement in the efficient processing of glucose and insulin, which may reduce the amount of insulin you require to manage your diabetes.

By lowering insulin intake and dependency through more effective management of your diabetes, you are likely to experience better long-term health and a greater sense of well being. You may also reduce your risk as a Diabetic of developing such serious insulin imbalance-linked complications as failing eyesight, heart and kidney disease and the need for amputation.

(1) Grossman, H. Does Diabetes protect or provoke Alzheimer's disease? Insights into the pathobiology and future treatment of Alzheimer's disease. CNS Spectr, Nov 2003; 8(11):815-23.

(2) Watson, GS. The role of insulin resistance in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer's disease: implications for treatment. CNS Drugs.2003;(17)1:27-45

(3) Biessels, GJ. Increased risk of Alzheimer's disease in Type II diabetes: insulin resistance of the brain or insulin-induced amyloid pathology? Biochem Soc Trans. 2005 Nov; 33(Pt 5):1041-4.

Gasparini, L. Does insulin dysfunction play a role in Alzheimer's disease? Trends Pharmacol Sci. 2002 Jun; 23(6):288-93.

 

 

 

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