High blood sugar levels – even those that are episodic and not chronic – cause sugar metabolites to accumulate in brain cells, resulting in systemic inflammation. These oxidative metabolites cause damage to cell membranes easily.

Over time, this low-grade chronic systemic inflammation results in what is referred to as “Inflammaging”, which can accelerate the biological aging process and worsen age-related diseases, including vascular conditions.

In the brain, blood vessels become tight, rigid, and leak chemicals that also are inflammatory, degrading blood flow and creating a feedback loop of inflammation. Areas of cell death start getting noticed due to increased oxidative damage and hypoxia or oxygen starvation. This, in turn, can lead to a decline in cognitive processing and vascular dementia.

We caution that our study, over time, is observational, and doesn’t establish a causal link between prediabetes and brain damage. This requires replication in future studies.

However, our findings definitely open up questions about potential benefits of diabetes screening in the population and the fact that earlier intervention should be considered.

Our research highlights the importance of monitoring blood sugar levels in order to intervene early to prevent damage to the brain, which sometimes can be irreversible.

It is imperative to note again that individuals with prediabetes can reduce their risk of developing diabetes by having a healthy and balanced diet, being more active, getting good sleep, and maintaining a healthy weight.

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