Diabetic encephalopathy is the damage to brain which is caused due to uncontrolled long term blood glucose. Encephalopathy is becoming more widely recognized as more people are diagnosed with type 1 and type 2 diabetes.
Diabetic encephalopathy presents itself both mentally and physically. It can induce an altered mental state, cognitive decline, changes in personality, memory lapses or severe impairment like dementia. The complication can also cause tremors, lack of coordination and even seizures.
HOW BRAIN GETS AFFECTED?
Diabetic encephalopathy is largely due to acute hypoglycemia (blood sugar levels are too low) or severe hyperglycemia (blood sugar levels are too high).
In case of type 2 diabetes, there are many different factors contributing in the development of this complication. It could be caused by the body’s resistance to insulin, which makes it difficult for the brain to break down amyloid, a protein that forms brain plaques. Brain plaques are abnormal clusters of this protein that block cell-to-cell signaling at the synapses – a symptom infamous for contributing to the development of Alzheimer’s disease.
Type 2 diabetic encephalopathy can also be generated from hyperglycemia or the conditions that commonly accompany type 2 diabetes like high blood pressure, obesity, or high cholesterol.
Encephalopathy could also be caused by microvascular inflammation affecting the blood vessels in the brain. This makes the brain’s vessels harden and decrease in blood flow. This diminished amount of blood paired with an excess of insulin in the brain can cause the brain to not process proteins properly.
SIGNS & SYMPTOMS OF DIABETIC ENCEPHALOPATHY
- Altered mental state
- Muscle twitching andmyalgia
- Cheyne-Stokes respirations (an altered breathing pattern seen with brain damage and coma)
DIAGNOSIS OF DIABETIC ENCEPHALOPATHY
Physicians may utilize several different tests at the same time to diagnose both the primary condition (the cause of encephalopathy) and the encephalopathy itself. The most frequently utilized tests are listed below that may help to diagnose diabetic encephalopathy:
- Clinical tests during the physical examination including mental status test, memory test and coordination test
- Complete blood countorCBC (infections or loss of blood)
- Blood glucose levels
- Blood pressure(high orlow blood pressure)
- Metabolic tests (blood levels ofelectrolytes,glucose, lactate, ammonia, oxygen, and liver enzymes)
- Drugs or toxin levels (alcohol,cocaine, amphetamines, and many others)
- Blood and body fluid cultures and analyses (infections of many types)
- Creatinine (kidney function)
- CT andMRIscans (brain swelling, anatomical abnormalities, or infections)
- Dopplerultrasound(abnormal blood flow to tissues or abscesses)
- Encephalogram orEEG(brain damage or abnormal brain wave patterns)
- Autoantibody analysis (dementia caused by antibodies that destroy neurons)
- Review of the person’s medications as some medications (for example, cyclosporine) may be responsible for symptoms
CAN IT BE PREVENTED OR TREATED?
The primary measure of prevention as well as treatment of diabetic encephalopathy is the maintenance of stable blood sugar levels. It also helps to avoid further damage. Follow the prescribed diabetes management plan for preventing the development of diabetic encephalopathy which includes
- Glucose measurements when appropriate
- Take all medications as directed. Try to consume herbal Supplements such as Fenfuro (fenugreek seeds extract) which is patented and clinically proven to manage diabetes.
- Do a Quick Body Scan from head to toe after bathing
- Check your feet every day. Look for cuts, sores, blisters, and ingrown toenails. Don’t forget the places where moisture can hide and germs can grow.
- High blood sugar causes your body to lose fluid and your skin can get dry. Drink plenty of water and other liquids to help your skin stay supple and healthy.
- It’s important to get at least 30 minutes of exercise a day to help manage your diabetes.
WHEN TO LOOK FOR MEDICAL HELP?
You should see a doctor right away if you experience symptoms of encephalopathy. If you are already receiving treatment for brain disease, be aware of the following signs:
- Severe confusion
- Severe disorientation
These can be signs of a medical urgency. They may mean that your condition is getting worse.