Purpose of review
To review the connection between type 2 diabetes and cognitive dysfunction, including its epidemiology, potential mechanisms of pathophysiology, risk factors, possible prevention, and treatment considerations.
Diabetes is a risk factor for mild cognitive decline, in addition to Alzheimer's disease and vascular dementia. Duration of diabetes, concomitant vascular or associated co-morbidities, hyper- and hypoglycemia may lead to worsening cognitive dysfunction. Unfortunately, there is a lack of evidence-based guidance on the prevention of cognitive dysfunction in the diabetes population. Studies of diabetes medications, including metformin, glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonists, and sodium-glucose cotransporter-2 inhibitors (SGLT2) have shown some benefit with cardiovascular morbidity and may affect cognition. In the absence of clearly defined preventive tools, diabetes practice guidelines recommend annual cognitive screening as standard of care in adults with diabetes aged 65 years or older.
People living with diabetes are at risk for significant decline in cognitive function. Epidemiology and risk factors are well defined. Prevention and treatment strategies are limited and require further study.