Effects of recurrent hypoglycemic events on cognitive functions at diabetic patients

Written by Juhos Beáta-Mária, Gál Réka, Balogh Andrea-Réka, Kéri Johanna, Szabó Mónika, Szatmári Szabolcs

Diabetes mellitus and its complications and comorbidities are one of the major contemporary public health problems. Cognitive deficits are commonly observed in people with diabetes, which makes the management of diabetes difficult and complicated, but the exact pathophysiology of cognitive dysfunction is not completely understood. The aim of the study was to evaluate the relationship between hypoglycemia and cognitive impairment, because in addition to other factors hypoglycemia might influence cognitive function. We have taken a detailed medical history from hospitalized diabetic patients, which included the incidence and severity of hypoglycemic events too. After that we used seven neurocognitive tests to assess cognitive dysfunctions. Results: From the 85 examined patients, 12 patients have had severe hypoglycemia in their history, 14 moderate and 15 persons both of them. The hypoglycemic events were more frequent in patients treated with insulin, with lower education and who have had diabetes for a long time. The performance of patients who have had moderate or severe hypoglycemia was worse at every cognitive test compared to patients with no or mild hypoglycemia. The cognitive functions of patient with recurrent, moderate hypoglycemia were worse than the cognitive function of patients with severe but rare events. On the other hand among the patients with dementia hypoglycemic events were more frequent than in patients with mild cognitive impairment. Conclusions: hypoglycemia is a possible risk factor for dementia, so it would be important to prevent these episodes, mainly the recurrent, moderate events, which seem to be more harmful than severe episodes.


Keywords: diabetes mellitus, cognitive functions, hypoglycemia

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