HealthDay News — Severe hypoglycemic and hyperglycemic events are associated with an increased risk for dementia among older adults with type 1 diabetes, according to a study published online June 2 in Neurology.

Rachel A. Whitmer, Ph.D., from the University of California, Davis, and colleagues conducted a longitudinal cohort study involving 2,821 older adults (mean age, 56 years) with type 1 diabetes in an integrated health care delivery system, who were followed from 1997 to 2015. Hypoglycemic and hyperglycemic events necessitating emergency room care or hospitalization were abstracted, and their association with dementia risk was examined.

The researchers found that 14, 12, and 3 percent of participants had a history of severe hypoglycemia, severe hyperglycemia, and both, respectively. A total of 5.4 percent of the participants developed dementia during a mean 6.9 years of follow-up. Individuals with hypoglycemic events had an increased risk for dementia compared with those without, and those with hyperglycemic events also had an increased risk for dementia compared with those without in fully adjusted models (hazard ratios, 1.66 and 2.11, respectively). Individuals with both severe hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia had a sixfold increased risk for dementia compared with those with neither (hazard ratio, 6.20).

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“Our findings suggest that exposure to severe glycemic events may have long-term consequences on brain health and should be considered additional motivation for people with diabetes to avoid severe glycemic events throughout their lifetime,” Whitmer said in a statement.

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