Common Connections between Diabetes & Dementia

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How Are Dementia & Diabetes Connected in Des Moines, IA

Studies performed by various research groups have revealed a link between diabetes and dementia. Hypoglycemia and vascular damage are two of the reasons cognitive impairment develops. Careful monitoring of blood sugar levels by diabetic seniors or their caregivers is necessary to reduce the risk of dementia.  Having excessive blood sugar levels can adversely affect your elderly loved one’s health, wellbeing, and overall quality of life. Seniors who want to remain healthy as they age can benefit in a variety of ways when they receive professional elderly home care. Home Care Assistance is here to help your loved one accomplish daily tasks, prevent illness, and focus on living a healthier and more fulfilling life. Take a look at how diabetes and dementia are connected.

Study on Hypoglycemia & Dementia Risk 

Researchers from the University of California, San Francisco submitted an article to JAMA Internal Medicine explaining how low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) increases the risk of dementia. The group evaluated data collected from 783 diabetic people. The seniors requiring hospitalization for severe hypoglycemic episodes had twice the risk of developing dementia in the following years. The study also revealed seniors with dementia had double the risk of experiencing further severe hypoglycemic events related to confusion and memory loss.  Diabetics experienced hypoglycemic episodes when they took oral diabetes medications or insulin and didn’t eat enough to elevate their blood sugar. As the brain requires glucose to function properly, abnormally low levels cause cognitive impairment. Over time, the cells chronically starved of glucose undergo damage, which leads to dementia.  Once dementia develops, seniors may not remember to eat or take their medication, which leads to further hypoglycemic events. When dementia is present, older adults should be monitored by their loved ones or professional caregivers to ensure they’re getting sufficient nutrition and are taking their medications properly. If your senior loved one needs help managing an illness or assistance with daily tasks, make sure you choose a top-rated provider of homecare. Des Moines Home Care Assistance is here to help your loved one live a happier and healthier life in the golden years. From the mentally stimulating activities in our Cognitive Therapeutics Method to our friendly Care Managers who are available to answer your questions 24 hours a day, we offer a wide array of high-quality at-home care services.

Vascular Dementia

Vascular dementia is the term that describes mini-strokes that occur in the deep recesses of the brain, destroying the area’s ability to function normally and producing dementia symptoms. Uncontrolled high blood sugar carries many risks, including damage to organs and blood vessels. Vascular damage interferes with blood flow to various regions of the brain. If a blockage occurs, increased pressure in the vessel may cause a small rupture and blood leakage. When the brain cells in the blocked area are deprived of oxygen and nutrient-rich blood, they die, which leads to dementia.  A study performed by Swedish scientists evaluated 125 autopsies of seniors who had been diagnosed with diabetes. Along with the autopsy findings, the group had access to A1C tests and fasting blood sugar assessments for each person. They found the diabetics with lower A1C results hadn’t developed dementia.  Many physicians consider an A1C of 7 percent or less acceptable for diabetic seniors. When they studied the brains of people who had been treated for diabetes but had A1C levels of 7 percent or higher, researchers found higher levels of amyloid protein plaque formations and tangles, which clump together and interfere with neuron alignment and blood flow. As a result, messages aren’t properly sent or received in the affected areas, and cells die from starvation. Dementia then occurs. As a result of their findings, the researchers recommend diabetics strive to keep their A1C levels as close to 5.7 percent as possible.  Dementia can be challenging for seniors to manage, but they can maintain a higher quality of life with the help of professional dementia care. Des Moines seniors can benefit greatly from the Cognitive Therapeutics Method (CTM), an activities-based program designed to promote cognitive health and delay the onset of dementia. CTM is included at no additional charge with any of the in-home care plans provided by Home Care Assistance. If you need professional home care for your loved one, reach out to one of our Care Managers today at (515) 264-2438.


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