Diabetics With Foot Problems More Likely to Have Cognitive Decline
People who have diabetes-related foot complications are more likely to have cognitive complications, according to a new study.
Difficulty with learning, decreased inhibition, slower cognitive responses and impaired verbal fluency are all issues associated with "diabetic foot" - a broad condition that be characterized by ulcers, necrosis and chronic pain.
"This study shows a clear correlation between diabetes and cognitive deterioration," says Rachel Natovich, researcher from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) in Israel. "Diabetic foot is a symptom that the diabetes is causing deterioration of the entire cardiovascular system."
A preventable complication
According to the researchers, diabetic foot is a severe but preventable complication of diabetes. If left untreated, it can require amputation.
The study found that diabetes patients who developed diabetic foot had cognitive decline only after they developed the condition.
"There is no research focusing on the cognitive functioning of these patients, despite the fact that the micro and macro vascular changes underlying the diabetic foot are systemic, occurring in many different organs, including the brain," said Natovich.
Changes to the treatment strategy of patients with diabetic foot should include routine monitoring for cognitive changes to enable early interventions.
Patients can also prevent diabetes-related foot complications by focusing on proper nutrition, blood sugar control, smoking cessation and getting enough physical activity.