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Brain Fog and Diabetes: How Are They Connected?

Type 2 diabetes is one of the most widespread chronic diseases in the world. In fact, as of 2018, more than 10% of Americans had diabetes, and about one and a half million more are diagnosed each year. The list of potential complications associated with this disease is long, but there’s one you may not be aware of and that is brain fog. 

Adam Learner, LAc, and his team at Family Acupuncture and Wellness can help you get your blood sugar under control and regain your health, and along with it, your ability to focus, think clearly, and remember more. You may even be able to reverse your diabetes diagnosis. 

What happens when you have diabetes?

When you have diabetes, your body can’t control the amount of sugar in your blood, called glucose. Glucose is the quickest, most available source of energy for many of your body’s organs and processes. 

Normally, your pancreas produces insulin and insulin allows the glucose in your blood to enter your cells, where it can be used. Insulin resistance, which is often the first stop on the journey to type 2 diabetes, is a condition in which your body doesn’t use the insulin efficiently and the glucose accumulates in your blood. 

After insulin resistance, many people develop pre-diabetes, or a higher-than-average blood glucose, but not enough for a diagnosis of diabetes. Some people don’t have pre-diabetes, but have a high enough blood glucose of a diagnosis of diabetes right away. 

Why is high blood glucose dangerous?

When you have too much sugar in your blood, it causes damage. Blood glucose can damage your blood vessels, making it far more likely you’ll develop cardiovascular disease. Or, the damage can decrease blood flow, making it more difficult for your body to heal. 

For example, people with diabetes must be cautious about getting cuts or wounds on their feet. Your feet are the farthest part of you from your heart, so decreased blood flow can have an out-sized impact on them. A small cut can lead to tissue loss if your blood doesn’t flow properly. 

The blood vessel and brain connection

Your brain isn’t as far from your heart as your feet, but damage to your blood vessels can slow down the flow of blood to your brain, which is one cause of brain fog in people with diabetes. 

Additionally, damage to the blood vessels in your brain can bring about damage to your white matter. You’ve probably heard of gray matter, but white matter is where your nerves deliver messages to each other. 

When there’s damage to your white matter, you develop vascular cognitive impairment — the inability to think clearly. 

Patients with type 2 diabetes often have other metabolic problems, and may have high cholesterol, triglycerides, and high blood pressure. Each of these factors can create inflammation in your body and inflammation also causes damage to your blood vessels. 

It’s not all bad news

You’re not doomed to a lifetime of poor concentration and worsening health. Even if you have been diagnosed with diabetes, you may be able to reverse the disease and regain your health. 

When you come to Family Acupuncture and Wellness, we perform blood work, do an extensive physical exam, and have a deep discussion about your lifestyle in an effort to understand how to best address your disease. 

We may recommend a change in your diet, help you find exercise that works for you, suggest supplements, or recommend a weight loss plan to help you lose any extra pounds. If you smoke, we can help you quit. 

As your health improves, you may notice that you think more clearly, experience improvements in memory, and can concentrate more deeply. 

If you’d like to learn more about our approach to treating type 2 diabetes, schedule an appointment at Family Acupuncture and Wellness. The sooner your blood glucose is under control, the less damage to your blood vessels. 

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