Signs of High blood sugar harms memory

If you don't have diabetes, it's pretty easy to ignore your blood sugar levels. After all, even without diabetes, you've probably got enough other health concerns to worry about, right?

Well, ignore those numbers at your own risk -- because signs of high blood sugar can damage your brain, harm your memory and set you up for dementia, and not just in the long term.

It could be hurting you right now, as new research finds older adults with even slightly elevated blood sugar levels do far worse on memory tests than older adults with normal blood sugar levels.

The study even shows why: As your blood sugar levels rise, even just a little nit, your hippocampus can shrink -- and that's the part of the brain you need for memory and learning.

What's most alarming of all is that none of the 141 older adults in the study were diabetic. They weren't even pre-diabetic. They weren't heavy drinkers, they weren't overweight and they weren't suffering from any overt signs of memory loss or cognitive decline.

They were, by most mainstream measures, healthy -- with some of them at the high end of the "normal" range, or just beyond it, for blood sugar.

Clearly, it's time to stop considering those levels to be normal or healthy, and this study isn't the only reason why. Other studies have also shown how even slight bumps or signs of  high blood sugar can set you up for memory loss and dementia.

And a growing body of evidence shows that blood sugar plays a central role in your overall health and longevity -- and signs of high blood sugar can cause serious damage even at levels not high enough to be considered diabetes or pre-diabetes.

Mainstream guidelines say to keep your total blood sugar below 100, but my guidelines are a little stricter. Aim for 90 or less.