Cognitive Impairment Linked to Diabetes


Most recent studies show that older adults who have diabetes have a high chance of getting cognitive impairment as well as short life expectancy compared to those who don’t have diabetes. A recent estimate shows that diabetes has been associated with over 40% increase in chances of dementia among older Americans. Dr. Carlos from the Max Planck Institute for demographic research said that the precise physiologic pathways remain undetermined.

Cognitive impairment is one of the main causes of loss of independence and presents a barrier to medication. There should be policies that are aimed at improving the outcomes among those who have diabetes. This should be informed by the level of cognitive impairment present in this population.

The Process Used To Carry Out the Research

The researchers used data from the US Health and Retirement Study. They studied age at onset of the cognitive impairment as well as life expectancy without cognitive impairment by diabetes among older aged and middle-aged adults. The research included 13,687 participants aged 50-74 years. These individuals contributed to a total number of 136,367 people on follow-up from the year 2002 the year 2012. Researchers interviewed all participants using the telephone in order to measure their cognitive function.

They used the information gathered and classified it according to age, gender, race, and education. They calculated age at onset of cognitive impairment as well as life expectancy without or with cognitive impairment by diabetes status at the age of 50 years.

What Were the Results?

Results revealed that diabetes is the major contributor to the increased cognitive impairment as well as increased mortality rate. For both women and men in most ages, those who have diabetes had a higher prevalence of cognitive impairment compared to those without. They also found out that the average cognition score for people with diabetes was 1.7 points lower. Those with a prevalence of cognitive were more than 10% higher compared to those without diabetes.

Diabetes decreased life expectancy by 5 to 7 years and cognitive impairment reduced the life expectancy by for 4 to 6 years. Those with diabetes lives approximately 1 year less than those with poor cognitive health. Although education was protective on cognitive health, diabetes was associated to lower age and cognitive impairment. There were fewer cognitive healthy years that were lived across various educational groups.

Research Suggestion and Recommendations

The relationship between diabetes and the length of life is due to reductions in years of cognitive normal functioning. The researchers suggested that more studies are needed to ascertain whether those individuals with diabetes are experiencing a decline in cognitive impairment overtime. If no focus is put on the progress against mortality among the population of people with diabetes and if there is no improved cognition, then the burden associated with diabetes might continue to increase over time.

Researchers suggested that there should focus on cognitive impairment and CPR for adults to ensure that people with diabetes are well taken care of. This will help them live a better life. It will help increase the life expectancy of the people suffering from diabetes and cognitive impairment.