Diabetes and Memory Loss

by Michelle Mortensen

Bill Graves has Type 2 diabetes and recently learned, because of his age, his diabetes puts him at a higher risk for memory loss.

"I had no idea that Type 2 diabetes could affect your memory loss. That is great information and just another reason why it is very very important for me to stick to my diet, taking my medication, and getting plenty of exercise," says Graves.

A new study shows people with Type 2 diabetes are up to two times as likely to experience cognitive dysfunction. The study focused on diabetics between ages 45 and 70. The participants were given a series of memory tests and a combination of drugs.

"We found that treatment with Avandia and Metformin was associated with a 30% improvement on a very challenging test of working memory," says Dr. Ryan.

According to Dr. Christopher Ryan, this finding is significant for patients and doctors because in 2001, 42% of the diabetic population in the U.S. was 65 years of age or older. This proportion is expected to increase to 53% by 2025 and to 58% by 2050. As the diabetic population ages, they become twice as likely to experience cognitive decline.

"I'm excited about our study because our study suggests [that] if you can get your blood sugar levels to close to the normal range as possible, you can improve your ability to remember things and multi-task," says Dr. Ryan.

Bill Graves says he's taking the information to heart.

"I want to be able to do things and memory is very important to living an active life as I have been," he says.