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Obesity may lead to Dementia

With the increasing prevalence of obesity there is an increase in incidence of diabetes, heart attack, stroke, cancer and other medical problems including depression. There is now evidence to show that increasing weight may also lead to dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

Health care professionals and media have an equally important role in the management of this disease. Unlike most other diseases obesity management is complicated and the cause for weight gain is varied. Obesity is a chronic disease and management should be individualised to be successful in the long run.

So how does obesity lead to dementia? We know that obesity can lead to Type 2 diabetes. Diabetes result due to increasing insulin resistance contributed by fat (adipose tissue).As insulin is not able to metabolise glucose, glucose concentration in the blood increases resulting in diabetes. Untreated diabetes can lead to complications including heart attack, stroke, blindness, amputations, kidney failure and a number of other conditions. So we know that obesity through the development of diabetes can lead to stroke.

Stroke results due to lack of blood supply to the brain. Diabetes affects blood vessels resulting in reduced or complete blockage of blood supply. Repeated attacks of mini strokes results in dementia. Symptoms of dementia include memory loss, depression, isolation, change in personality, confusion, change in mood, problems with walking and many more.

Obesity is an inflammatory condition that is the chemicals produced by the adipose or fat tissue results in inflammation effecting different parts of the body including blood vessels.

Recent research on rats showed that when rats were fed with rich food containing high saturated fats and refined sugars developed problems with their memory. This research also found that saturated fats and refined sugars not only affected the blood vessels but also had an effect on the blood-brain barrier. The blood-brain barrier is known to protect the brain against infections and toxins.

So weight loss and weight maintenance will not only help you to reduce the chance of developing diabetes, heart attack, cancer and stroke but also protect you from becoming demented.

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