Skip to content

Diabetes Health Center

Type 2 Diabetes Linked to Difficulties With Mental Tasks

Font Size
A
A
A

continued...

Although the study was not designed to determine how diabetes might affect the brain, the researchers were able to rule out some other factors that are often associated with aging or with diabetes, such as blood vessel narrowing that could lead to decreased blood flow to the brain or stroke, high blood pressure, or depression.

"From a research point of view, it makes us think about what is the link between diabetes and cognitive function," David A. Bennett, MD, tells WebMD.

Bennett, who wrote an editorial accompanying the study, is with the Rush Alzheimer's Disease Center and department of neurological sciences at Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke's Medical Center in Chicago. "Why do people with diabetes lose cognitive abilities? The easiest explanation is that diabetes is associated with strokes, but on the other hand, that may not be true. It may actually be related to insulin metabolism and the way the brain deals with insulin and diabetes," he says.

Bennett says that because type 2 diabetes is caused by the body's increasing inability to use insulin to process glucose, the major form of sugar in the blood, the disease may somehow alter the ability of individual nerve cells in the brain to store and use glucose. Some brain researchers think that problems with glucose metabolism may cause or contribute to Alzheimer's disease or other forms of dementia.

The study was supported in part by grants from the Public Health Service of the National Institutes of Health.

Vital Information:

  • A new study shows that older women with type 2 diabetes are more likely to have problems with memory, concentration, and general mental tasks compared to nondiabetics.
  • Men were not included in the study, but researchers suspect the findings would apply to them as well.
  • Two possible explanations for the results are that the disease is associated with strokes, or that insulin metabolism is altered in the brain of diabetics
1 | 2

Is This Normal? Get the Facts Fast!

Check Your Blood Sugar Level Now
What type of diabetes do you have?
Your gender:

Get the latest Diabetes newsletter delivered to your inbox!


or
Answer:
Low
0-69
Normal
70-130
High
131+

Your level is currently

If the level is below 70 or you are experiencing symptoms such as shaking, sweating or difficulty thinking, you will need to raise the number immediately. A quick solution is to eat a few pieces of hard candy or 1 tablespoon of sugar or honey. Recheck your numbers again in 15 minutes to see if the number has gone up. If not, repeat the steps above or call your doctor.

People who experience hypoglycemia several times in a week should call their health care provider. It's important to monitor your levels each day so you can make sure your numbers are within the range. If you are pregnant always consult with your health care provider.

Congratulations on taking steps to manage your health.

However, it's important to continue to track your numbers so that you can make lifestyle changes if needed. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.

Your level is high if this reading was taken before eating. Aim for 70-130 before meals and less than 180 two hours after meals.

Even if your number is high, it's not too late for you to take control of your health and lower your blood sugar.

One of the first steps is to monitor your levels each day. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.

Did You Know Your Lifestyle Choices
Affect Your Blood Sugar?

Use the Blood Glucose Tracker to monitor
how well you manage your blood sugar over time.

Get Started

This tool is not intended for women who are pregnant.

Start Over

Step:  of 

Today on WebMD

Diabetic tools
Symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, and more.
woman flexing muscles
10 strength training exercises.
 
Blood sugar test
12 practical tips.
Tom Hanks
Stars living with type 1 or type 2.
 
Woman serving fast food from window
Video
Can Vinegar Treat Diabetes
Video
 
Middle aged person
Tool
are battery operated toothbrushes really better
Video
 

Prediabetes How to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes
Article
type 2 diabetes
Slideshow
 
food fitness planner
Tool
Are You at Risk for Dupuytrens Contracture
Article