(Natural News) If you are diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, you need to follow a nutritious and healthy diet since the condition affects your blood glucose levels. But diabetes doesn’t just affect your blood sugar. According to a study, Type 2 diabetes can also affect verbal fluency, especially among older patients.
The study was published in the journal Diabetologia.
Diabetes and brain function
According to the Australian researchers who conducted it, Type 2 diabetes may affect brain function earlier than experts first thought. They set out to examine how dementia affects brain health.
Diabetes is linked to greater risks of dementia, but data suggest that the risk could be minimized by following a healthy lifestyle and maintaining healthy blood glucose levels. (Related: Study: Diet determines whether you get type 2 diabetes, especially in older women.)
The researchers worked with 705 volunteers to complete a trial that lasted for four-and-a-half years. None of the participants had dementia, but 348 of them were diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes.
The participants with diabetes had an average age of 68. Meanwhile, the participants who did not have the condition had an average age of 72.
For the duration of the trial, all of the volunteers underwent brain scans that determined the presence of tissue shrinkage, also called brain atrophy. The participants also took part in cognitive tests that gauged their verbal skills.
The researchers found that participants with diabetes already displayed evidence of smaller brain volume at the beginning of the trial. This implied that changes to the brain begin occurring much earlier than first thought in patients with diabetes. The researchers added that no additional brain shrinkage was observed through the course of the study.
The lead author of the study, Michele Callisaya, who is from the University of Tasmania in Hobart, Australia, explained that to maintain brain health, individuals with Type 2 diabetes must have healthy habits.
- Following a healthy diet
- Exercising regularly
- Maintaining a healthy weight
- Mentally challenging the brain
- Regularly checking blood pressure and cholesterol
- Taking part in social activities
The researchers also found evidence suggesting that diabetes impacts the verbal fluency of elderly patients. They added that the participants who weren’t diagnosed with diabetes did not experience a decline in verbal fluency at all.
Their findings also suggested that participants with Type 2 diabetes had well-controlled blood sugar levels. This is crucial because individuals who have great difficulty managing their diabetes may experience greater brain changes over time.
“In older community-dwelling people, type 2 diabetes is associated with decline in verbal memory and fluency over 5 years. The effect of diabetes on brain atrophy may begin earlier (midlife),” concluded the researchers.
Tips for being physically active if you have diabetes
If you have diabetes, exercising regularly can help you manage your blood glucose levels and stay healthy.
Exercising also offers health benefits, such as:
- Burning extra calories so you can maintain a healthy weight
- Helping you sleep better at night
- Improving blood flow and your mood
- Lowering blood glucose levels
- Lowering blood pressure
- Preventing falls and improving memory in older patients
Before you start working out, consult a health care provider to determine which activities are safe for your condition. This is important for individuals with poor vision or nerve damage in their feet.
If you are usually inactive or you want to try a new activity, start slowly. Exercise for about five to 10 minutes a day, then gradually increase the time you spend exercising.
Here are some simple ways to add physical activities to your daily routine:
- Do chores like working in the garden or cleaning the house
- Walk around while you’re talking on the phone or during TV commercials
- Walk and take the stairs instead of using the elevator
- If your job requires you to sit in front of a computer for long hours, do some light activity for three minutes or more every half hour
If you have Type 2 diabetes, stay active and follow a healthy diet to improve your overall well-being and boost your brain health.