What High Blood Sugar Could Do to Your Brain

Date:14-08-2013 07:50:04 read:6

Note to self: Hit the gym.

Sugar rots more than your teeth. People with high blood glucose levels are 18 percent more likely to develop dementia, even if they don’t have diabetes, according to new University of Washington research.

In the study, the scientists found that people with fasting blood sugar levels that measured 115 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) were at significantly greater risk than those whose blood glucose qualified as “normal.” Normal fasting blood sugar is 70 to 100 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL); 101 to 125 is considered “prediabetes”; 126 and above is classified as diabetes.

Chronically elevated blood sugar—even if it’s not yet high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes—could damage small blood vessels in the central nervous system, the study authors note. And while most cases of Alzheimer’s and dementia don’t strike until age 65 (or older), controlling blood glucose during your younger years helps you keep it in check as you age, says study author Paul Crane, M.D., M.P.H.

One habit that could help: regular gym sessions. Twelve weeks of logging four to five moderate aerobic workouts per week reduced blood sugar in most people with prediabetes, especially those who started out with glucose levels closer to normal, a recent JAMA Internal Medicine study found. What’s more: About the same amount of exercise improved memory and brain function in a recent University of Maryland study.

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