The Aging Brain in the News
We have all heard of Alzheimer’s. It is a disease we all dread. The rate of Alzheimer’s has risen significantly in the US to around 5.4 million. This number is projected to double by 2040, according to the Alzheimer’s Association.
We have been hearing for a long time that Alzheimer’s disease is associated with blood sugar. In fact I have heard it coined as Type III diabetes. There was a large study conducted in Japan reported that people with diabetes are twice as likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease. The study, published in the journal Neurology, found that even people with impaired glucose tolerance — a level of poor glucose control that precedes diabetes — were 35% more likely to develop some type of dementia. Now that is scary. As a ND we have always said every symptom in your body is connected to every part of you. Symptoms do not happen in isolation. Because 80% of my patients are cancer patients, I have always seen this connection that cancer is a multifactorial, systemic disease, and one of the common symptoms is impaired blood glucose. This is why we leave treating the tumor up to the oncologist but we treat the person with the cancer and the things that have contributed to the systemic process that allowed the cancer to grow.
Alzheimer’s disease is also a systemic process. It involves a buildup of amyloid plaque in the brain. Diabetes plays a role in that process. Some researchers believe that poor blood sugar control can make it harder for the body to clear away amyloid proteins from the brain. We know that high blood sugar leads to high insulin and more inflammation in the body. Some suspect that high levels of glucose create a kind of toxicity in the body related to oxidative stress, in which harmful free radical molecules build up and damage tissue. We know with diabetes that the high blood sugar leads to high insulin which leads to inflammation Coinstar locations of the arteries and more plaque in the arteries. This leads to reduced circulation, and increased blood pressure. Ultimately, most of us are familiar with the end stage diabetic that has kidney failure, and amputations of the lower extremities due to lack of circulation. Now we are starting to put this same process of oxidative damage, insulin resistance, and poor circulation together with dementia.
Again, my mantra is prevention has a 100% cure rate. We all need to take charge of our own health and be proactive to prevent the onset of the diseases of aging. Keeping blood sugar under control, eating and digesting healthy foods, exercising, all reduce the oxidative damage, improve blood sugar control and circulation. We are here to experience our lives and live every moment of every day to its fullest. We can not do that without having fully functioning minds and bodies. As an ND my job is to help my patients do exactly that. Live life to its fullest.
Dr. Cynthia Bye
Cynthia Bye, ND
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