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Common Connections Between Diabetes & Dementia

Seniors with diabetes are at a risk of heart attacks, strokes, and other cardiovascular conditions. Studies suggest diabetes also increases a senior’s likelihood of developing dementia. Learn about the connection between diabetes and dementia and the preventative measures that can reduce their risks. 

Diabetes Often Leads to Hypoglycemia

Many diabetics have low blood sugar because diabetes undermines the body’s ability to produce and regulate insulin. As a key hormone, insulin assists in blood’s absorption of glucose. When insulin is unable to perform this function, the body doesn’t get enough glucose, and blood sugar levels drop. While the medications diabetics use to increase their insulin levels help with regulation, they don’t always prevent hypoglycemic events. Hypoglycemia or low blood sugar can also be triggered by skipping out on meals and exercise. When this happens, diabetics often experience symptoms such as headaches, shaking, fatigue, dizziness, and sweating. 

Diabetes is one of the many serious health issues that can negatively impact your loved one’s overall quality of life. If your senior loved one has been diagnosed with a serious condition and needs help with tasks like meal prep, transportation, bathing, and grooming, reach out to Home Care Assistance, an in-home care provider Toronto, Ontario, families can trust. We also offer comprehensive care for seniors with dementia, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s. 

Hypoglycemia Impacts Brain Function

When a diabetic experiences hypoglycemia too frequently, it can cause long-term damage. The brain is fueled by glucose, and when glucose levels drop, cognitive function is affected. In cases of severe hypoglycemia, it can have a permanent neuronal impact, which may lead to cognitive conditions like Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. 

Diabetes & Dementia: A Vicious Cycle

Diabetics who have low blood sugar levels are more likely to experience cognitive decline. Seniors who already have dementia are likely to experience hypoglycemia, which can worsen their cognitive health. To break out of this cycle and boost health and wellbeing, preventing hypoglycemia is essential. 

Seniors can reduce their likelihood of experiencing several age-related health conditions by opting for professional in-home care. If your senior loved one needs hourly or live-in care, Toronto Home Care Assistance can help. Our caregivers can assist with exercise and mobility, prepare nutritious meals, provide timely medication reminders, and help with a wide array of other important daily tasks. 

Preventative Measures Against Diabetes

There are many ways for caregivers to reduce the risk of hypoglycemic events. They should discourage seniors from doing things that lead to low blood pressure, like skipping meals, drinking too much alcohol, exercising without eating, and forgetting to eat carbohydrates. Caregivers should also know the warning signs of hypoglycemia such as dizziness, frequent headaches, impaired vision, frequent urination, and thirst. When seniors show signs of low blood sugar, caregivers should give them foods or beverages that raise blood glucose levels. To stabilize blood glucose levels, seniors should ingest 15 to 20 grams of sugars or carbohydrates, which can take the form of peanut butter, crackers, dried fruit, or juice. 

Caregivers can also increase how frequently they measure blood sugar levels. Seniors who are at great risk for hypoglycemic events can have their blood sugar tested once every two hours, giving caregivers time to act when blood sugar starts to drop. By taking these steps to keep a senior’s blood sugar in check, caregivers may be able to prevent the cognitive damage associated with frequent hypoglycemic events.

Consider hiring a professional caregiver if your loved one is living with a serious medical condition and needs help managing daily activities. Whether your elderly loved one needs part-time assistance with basic household chores or you need a break from your caregiving duties, the Toronto respite care experts at Home Care Assistance are here to help. All of our respite care services are backed with a 100% satisfaction guarantee, there are no hidden fees in our contracts, and we never ask our clients to sign long-term contracts. To learn about our high-quality in-home care services, give us a call at (416) 488-8777 today.