Sight And Hearing Can Affect Memory
Regularly get your sight and hearing tested. Ensure that you have the right glasses and hearing aid for your needs if you require these items.
This can be a particular issue when going into hospital, as this can be a strange and confusing environment at the best of times. If you have lost your glasses or hearing aid, this may make you more confused.
Visit our page on diabetes eye screening for more information on keeping your eyes healthy.
Can Diabetes Lead To Cognitive Impairment
Learn about cognitive impairment risk in people with diabetes and how to adapt treatments for patients with cognitive problems.
José A. Luchsinger, MD, is a professor of medicine and epidemiology at Columbia University Irving Medical Center, New York. As an expert in aging and cognition, he shares his insights on the relationship between diabetes and cognitive impairment, and how health care professionals can adapt treatment for patients with cognitive problems.
Q: What is cognitive impairment, and why does it matter for people with diabetes?
A: Cognitive impairment is a decline from usual cognitive abilities. There are different types. The one most people are concerned about is forgetfulness, which is the inability to remember events or learn material. Other types of cognitive impairment are not related to memory or can co-occur with memory problems. These include problems with attention and executive functionthe ability to start, conduct, and finish a complex task.
When these problems are mild and do not impact a persons ability to function by themselves, they’re called mild cognitive impairment. When cognitive impairment is so severe that it affects peoples ability to live independentlymeaning they need help to remember things, keep track of things, or conduct activities of daily livingthen we call that dementia.
People with diabetes are at risk of developing cognitive impairment, which presents challenges for following treatment.
Sugar Intake Hinders Mental Capacity
Elevated blood glucose harms blood vessels. Blood vessel damage is the major cause of the vascular complications of diabetes, leading to other problems, such as damage to blood vessels in the brain and eyes causing retinopathy.
Studies of long-term diabetics show progressive brain damage leading to deficits in learning, memory, motor speed, and other cognitive functions. Frequent exposure to high glucose levels diminishes mental capacity, as higher HbA1c levels have been associated with a greater degree of brain shrinkage.
Even in those without diabetes, higher sugar consumption is associated with lower scores on tests of cognitive function. These effects are thought to be due to a combination of hyperglycemia, hypertension, insulin resistance, and elevated cholesterol.
Additional research shows that a diet high in added sugar reduces the production brain-derived neurotrophic factor , a brain chemical essential for new memory formation and learning. Lower levels of BDNF are also linked to dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, according to a study published in the journal Diabetologia.
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Whats Behind The Memory Decline In Diabetes
Previous studies have shown that people with type 2 diabetes have an increased risk for Alzheimers disease. Alzheimers is a kind of dementia that causes issues with memory, thinking and behavior. Its progressive and irreversible, and it eventually destroys a persons ability to carry out even the simplest of tasks.
While memory loss is a key feature of Alzheimers, there are differences between the memory loss that occurs with aging and memory loss due to Alzheimers. However, both are more likely to occur in people with type 2 diabetes. Researchers think that damage to blood vessels, which can occur in diabetes, is what can lead to cognitive problems and vascular dementia. Its also possible that high blood sugar levels cause damage in the hippocampus, a part of the brain thats involved in memory. Actually, high blood sugars appear to be detrimental to brain health, in general. But even people whose diabetes is in good control are more likely to experience memory problems and impairments in cognitive function.
Its also worth noting that having too many very low blood sugars may potentially also affect your memory and cognition. The goal is to stay on an even keel.
How Can Diabetes Affect Memory
Memory loss in people with diabetes can be either short-term or long-term.
During an episode of hypoglycemia , you might have short-term memory loss. This generally resolves when you treat the hypoglycemia and your blood sugar levels return to normal.
Continual periods of hyperglycemia can cause damage to the nerves in the brain, which results in long-term memory loss. Recent research has shown that, compared with the general population, people with type 2 diabetes have twice the risk of developing dementia.
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Confusion And Memory Loss In Diabetes
It can be really upsetting and frightening if you or someone you love is struggling with memory loss. Find out what might help you.
There are many reasons why most people forget things from time to time, for example, it can be a normal sign of ageing. Ageing in the brain can also be linked to problems with thinking, emotional problems and dementia.
How Diabetes Causes Brain Fog And Memory Loss: Can Anything Help
Diabetes causes brain fog and memory loss. Both are frustrating and can drastically reduce someones ability to complete daily tasks. Brain fog isnt an official diagnosis but instead is a blanket term that aptly describes how someone is experiencing the world. As its name implies, brain fog makes people feel as though theyre enshrouded in a fog so thick they dont know how to find their way out. Diabetes is a cause of brain fog and the memory loss that often is a part of brain fog.
Diabetes causes serious health problems throughout the body. The brain isnt exempt from damage, and symptoms of brain fog make the disease even more difficult to deal with. Brain fog can involve:
- Memory loss and forgetfulness
- Struggles in finding the right words in conversations
Specific mechanisms of diabetes cause brain fog and memory loss.
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What Conditions Are Associated With Memory Loss
Besides episodes of hypoglycemia and the incidence of prolonged hyperglycemia, memory loss can be caused by a number of other conditions or behaviours, including:
- Alzheimers disease
- Small strokes in the brain
- High blood pressure levels
- Some medications, such as anti-anxiety drugs, cholesterol-lowering drugs, antidepressant drugs, blood pressure-lowering drugs and sleeping aids
- Emotional disorders, such as stress, anxiety or depression
Cognitive Function A Factor In Managing Diabetes
The researchers analyzed hospital records of patients from Memphis and Pittsburgh, ages 70 to 79 at the time of enrollment, who participated in the federally funded Health, Aging and Body Composition study, begun in 1997. The UCSF results are based on an average of 12 years of follow-up study. Participants in the Health ABC study periodically underwent tests to measure cognitive function.
Nearly half of participants included in the newly published analysis were black, and the rest were white. None had dementia at the start of the study, and all either had diabetes at the beginning of the study or were diagnosed during the course of the study.
Kristine Yaffe, MD
Individuals with dementia or even those with milder forms of cognitive impairment may be less able to effectively manage complex treatment regimens for diabetes and less able to recognize the symptoms of hypoglycemia and to respond appropriately, increasing their risk of severe hypoglycemia, Yaffe said. Physicians should take cognitive function into account in managing diabetes in elderly individuals.
Certain medications known to carry a higher risk for hypoglycemia such as insulin secretagogues and certain sulfonylureas may be inappropriate for older adults with dementia or who are at risk for cognitive impairment, according to Yaffe.
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Treatment For Brain Fog With Diabetes
To treat brain fog due to diabetes, its important that your blood sugar levels are in target range as much as possible.
The goal is to avoid blood sugar fluctuations. This means keeping your blood sugar within a healthy range not too high and not too low.
If youre prescribed medication to treat diabetes, take your medication as instructed and dont skip doses.
Also, follow any dietary instructions your healthcare provider recommends. If you feel that your brain fog isnt improving, talk to them.
Your healthcare provider may need to adjust your medication. Also, it might help to speak with a registered dietitian for guidance on what foods to eat and what foods to avoid with diabetes.
Managing your diabetes is important because not managing your condition can lead to potentially life threatening complications.
It can cause:
Brain fog should improve as your blood sugar returns to a healthy level.
In the meantime, the following tips can help you cope with cognitive dysfunction.
What Are The Warning Signs Of Type 3 Diabetes
Even without developing Alzheimers disease, people with type 2 diabetes may have more memory problems as they get older than people without diabetes. They may also have problems with executive brain functions. These are high-level brain functions like organizing, planning, and decision making.
Having Type 2 diabetes doubles your risk of Alzheimers disease and other dementias. Signs of Alzheimers disease or other dementias include memory loss, loss of ability to learn, loss of executive functions, changes in personality, loss of ability to communicate, and a gradual loss of the ability to do every day activities of life.
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Blood Vessel Damage In Diabetes Leads To Brain Fog Memory Loss
Blood sugar highs and lows create problems with blood circulation. Restricted circulation to the brain starves it of nutrients and oxygen. The brain cant function at its peak when it lacks nourishment therefore, symptoms of brain fog begin.
Circulation problems arent the only effect diabetes has on blood vessels. Hyperglycemia damages vessel walls over time, reducing their flexibility and responsiveness to the blood flow within them. In the brain, blood vessels need to flex to accommodate changing circulation. The brain adjusts the amount of blood it uses to support the functioning of various areas and structures. When blood vessels are rigid, they dont move fluidly to supply nutrients and oxygen where theyre most needed. As a result, memory loss, reasoning, processing speed, and more are compromised .
Diabetes and brain fog make life difficult. Is there a fix?
How High Blood Sugar Affects Children
A 2014 study published by the American Diabetes Association shows that really high blood sugar can slow the growth of a brain as it develops. The same is true when a childâs levels swing up and down a lot.
Brain scans show differences between a child with diabetes and one without. Still researchers found no major differences in their IQs, mood, behavior, and learning and memory skills. Itâs still unknown if the disease can affect things like their muscle movements and how fast they process information.
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Can Diabetes Make Seniors Confused
The systems and functions of our bodies are all interconnected in ways scientists continue working to unravel. As we age, these interactions between systems become even more important as the bodys reactions impact our aging bodies more intensely. Things we were able to shake off in our youth can become life-threatening issues. This is especially true for patients with pre-existing conditions like diabetes and raises the question of whether diabetes can make seniors confused.
The long-term effects of diabetes can negatively affect multiple systems in your body the circulatory system, cardiovascular health, and joint health in particular. Diabetes can also affect your cognitive function and increase symptoms of dementia, Alzheimers disease, and other cognitive illnesses and disabilities.
In fact, seniors with no previous record of dementia can become confused when they are struggling to control diabetes. How, then, can diabetes make seniors confused? What links diet and insulin production to brain functions? Diabetes in seniors is actually linked to confusion and cognitive dysfunction in multiple ways.
Understanding how diabetes and the brain interact now provides an opportunity to monitor your loved one for recognizable symptoms. Like many diseases, noticing these signs early on means action can be taken to prevent the progression of the confusion.
Hyperglycemia And The Brain
Because your brain relies on sugar for its energy source, you may think, The more sugar I give it, the better off my brain will be. But that couldnt be further from the truth. Having frequent episodes of hyperglycemia can stress the brain. And because the effects of high blood sugar happen over time and arent obvious right away, many people dont know that their brain is being affected.
High blood sugar over time damages blood vessels in the brain that carry oxygen-rich blood. When your brain receives too little blood, brain cells can die. This is called brain atrophy and can cause problems with memory and thinking and eventually can lead to vascular dementia.
Your doctor will set a personal blood sugar target range for you. You can help protect your brain by keeping your blood sugar as close to your target levels as possible and by eating a diet rich in vegetables, fiber, and fruit along with getting regular physical activity. These healthy habits can help you manage your diabetes and support your brain health.
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Diabetes Can Speed Up Brain Ageing
Some people with diabetes can show signs of ageing in the brain, but why this happens is still unclear.
So having good control of your glucose may help to keep your memory working well.
Sugar Has Effects On Mood
Sugar also affects mood. In healthy young people, the ability to process emotion is compromised with elevated blood glucose, according to a brain imaging study.
Another study published in Diabetes Care found that people with type 2 diabetes reported increased feelings of sadness and anxiety during acute hyperglycemia .
One of the largest studies to link sugar with depressionan analysis of dietary consumption and mood of 23,245 individuals enrolled in the Whitehall II studyfound higher rates of sugar consumption was associated with a greater incidence of depression.
The study, published in 2017 in the journal Scientific Reports, found those with the highest level of sugar consumption were a 23% more likely to be diagnosed with a mental disorder than those with the lowest sugar intakes.
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How It Affects Adults
Adults whoâve had type 1 for a long time have slower physical and mental reactions. The condition doesnât seem to impact a personâs learning and thinking skills, researchers say. But memory and attention span can be affected.
Type 1, like type 2, is linked with a high rate of depression. High blood sugar levels and the stress of managing a long-term disease are to blame.
Nine Tips To Keep Your Memory With Diabetes
First, the good news. People, in general, are living longer. And people who have diabetes can and do live long, healthy lives. Now, the not-so-good news: People who have diabetes are more likely to experience memory problems than people without the condition. According to a study out of the University of South Florida in Tampa, older adults who had diabetes and high blood sugars performed worse on memory tests at the start of the study and showed a greater decline in memory by the end of the study compared to older adult without diabetes.
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Dementia Diagnosis And Interventions
Your memory difficulties may be nothing serious – they may be part of a condition that can easily be treated, like anaemia, an infection or depression.
If you or your loved one show signs of memory loss, contact your GP, who can check things properly and provide you with a diagnosis and interventions to help.
If Youre Experiencing Forgetfulness Or Confusion Check Your Medicine Cabinet
For a long time doctors dismissed forgetfulness and mental confusion as a normal part of aging. But scientists now know that memory loss as you get older is by no means inevitable. Indeed, the brain can grow new brain cells and reshape their connections throughout life.Most people are familiar with at least some of the things that can impair memory, including alcohol and drug abuse, heavy cigarette smoking, head injuries, stroke, sleep deprivation, severe stress, vitamin B12 deficiency, and illnesses such as Alzheimer’s disease and depression.
But what many people don’t realize is that many commonly prescribed drugs also can interfere with memory. Here are 10 of the top types of offenders.
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Alzheimers Disease And Diabetes In Seniors
More than a quarter of adults over the age of 65 in the United States suffer from diabetes. Diabetes occurs when your bodys blood sugar is too high. Depending on which type of diabetes is present , this interferes with the ability to create insulin or the ability to process glucose . Insulin turns glucose into energy. The interference results in low blood sugar, which can cause sluggishness, confusion, and, in extreme cases, seizures and death.
Diabetes in seniors, however, may be an even more chronically dangerous problem. Low blood sugar and cognitive decline can become a vicious cycle. In fact, several studies found that people with diabetes are twice as likely to develop Alzheimers or other forms of dementia.
Can Diabetes Cause Memory Problems
Many people are aware of some of the devastating consequences of uncontrolled or untreated diabetes, including an increased risk for heart disease, blindness, and kidney failure. But did you know that it also puts you at a higher risk for memory problems, Alzheimers disease, and other types of dementia? Scientific evidence links abnormal insulin levels to cognitive decline and Alzheimers disease. Thats bad news for the 50% of the U.S. population who have diabetes or prediabetes.
Diabetes is a disorder that occurs when the bodys blood sugar levels are chronically too high. The condition develops when the body either does not produce enough insulin, the hormone that regulates blood sugar levels or does not use insulin efficiently. There are two types of diabetes:
- Type1: This is characterized by the insufficient production of insulin.
- Type2: This occurs when the body doesnt use insulin efficiently.
Both types of diabetes damage blood vessels, which then cause harmto the bodys organs and brain.
Prediabetes, a precursor to type 2 diabetes, is defined ashaving blood sugar levels that are higher than normal but not high enough to bediagnosed as diabetes.
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