Dementia has been added to the list of diabetes-associated risks. A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine in August 2013 found that people with diabetes face an increased risk of dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease. This has been confirmed by an additional study published in Diabetes Care, the official journal of the American Diabetes Association which reported that diabetes is linked with increased risk of dementia and cognitive impairment among older adults and with premature mortality in young and middle-aged adults.
The link between diabetes and dementia is hypoglycemia or low blood sugar. Hypoglycemia commonly occurs in patients with diabetes mellitus (DM) and may negatively influence cognitive performance. Because the brain uses glucose for energy, cognitive function can be impaired when blood glucose drops too low; severe hypoglycemia can cause neurological issues such as Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
The number of older people with dementia and diabetes is increasing. Caring for a loved one with these conditions poses many challenges for families and caregivers. A Pub Med study reports the caregivers of patients with dementia and diabetes face extraordinary challenges managing both conditions and the accompanying Behavioral and Psychological Symptoms of Dementia (BPSD). Uncontrolled blood glucose levels can also lead to nerve damage referred to as diabetic neuropathy. Early attention and treatment help patients to get better and back to their routine activities.
If your loved one or person you are caring for shows signs of dementia due to diabetes, make sure they get treatment at a professional healthcare center that offers neurology rehabilitation services which cover a variety of conditions including diabetic peripheral neuropathy and dementia. A reliable center would be equipped with the latest technologies for neurological care, including VENG, EMG/NCV, and open-MRI unit. Many establishments also provide care-giver coaching for adult children.