Diabetes plus dementia can be a life threatening situation for senior citizens. Specifically, the risk of death in seniors from hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) is significantly higher if they suffer from a combination of low blood sugar and dementia.
Diabetes: Worrying Statistics for Seniors With Dementia
Researchers analyzed data from nearly 20,000 people aged 65 and older with type 1 or type 2 diabetes. They were followed for up to five years after their first recorded low blood sugar episode.
Those seniors with both low blood sugar and dementia had a 67 percent higher risk of death following a low blood sugar episode compared to seniors with diabetes alone, according to study findings.
The Alzheimer’s Society says that low blood sugar is a not well known risk factor for death in older adults suffering from both hypoglycemia and dementia. The Society strongly recommends that doctors get away from prescribing strict low-sugar targets for this population. Instead, they should focus on just the opposite; namely constant detection of low blood sugar by continuous use of glucose monitoring devices.
A senior citizen suffering from a combination of diabetes and dementia is caught in a vicious life-threatening cycle. The dementia reduces the ability to monitor and reverse low blood sugar levels, and in turn, the low blood sugar worsens the dementia.
Furthermore, with no effective dementia drugs introduced in the last 15 years, the only recourse is to improve care and minimize the risk. Indeed, low blood sugar has been shown to increase the risk of developing dementia.
The bottom line is that low blood sugar levels are extremely dangerous to anyone with diabetes, and even more extreme in people with dementia.