It’s no secret that obesity is associated with a number of chronic diseases. Perhaps one of the most well-chronicled illnesses associated with obesity is type 2 diabetes. Excess weight and inactivity are often contributing risk factors for type 2 diabetes, a disease that is found increasingly among obese children as well as adults. If that’s not cause enough for concern, a recent study from the medical journal Neurology has outlined the adverse effects that diabetes can have on the brain.
But first: What exactly is type 2 diabetes? The disease occurs when the body becomes resistant to the hormone insulin, which is secreted by the pancreas and works to regulate the body’s glucose levels. The resulting glucose imbalances can often cause other complications, including, according to the Neurology study, some serious negative effects on the brain.
“This study demonstrates that diabetes is a medical condition that affects the entire body,” Dr. Dirk explains. “Diabetes affects the heart, blood vessels, nerves, skin and now the brain.”
In fact, in as little as two years, researchers found significant difference in mental acuity among healthy patients and those with type 2 diabetes was detected in measures of gray matter volume and test scores. Researchers also noted decreased blood flow to the brain among those with the disease.
Fortunately, people living with type 2 diabetes have options when it comes to controlling their disease. A healthy diet and exercise are important in the brain health of any person, but these demands become even more important for those with the disease.
“It is very important that diabetic patients engage in good nutrition, exercise and very tight control of their blood sugars with their medications,” advises Dr. Dirk.
However, these first lines of defense often fail to control the disease. If that’s the case, Dr. Dirk offers other options: “It is imperative that diabetic patients give serious thought to weight loss surgery, even if they are not obese. There is excellent science that shows that diabetic patients whose BMI (body mass index) is under 30 have excellent results from bariatric surgery procedures.”
As science and medicine advance, so do treatment plans. Don’t hesitate to talk to a Dallas bariatric surgeon about managing your type 2 diabetes and improving your quality of life.