Older Americans are being misdiagnosed with dementia when they really have diabetes.
Diabetes causes dementia. Diabetes causes damage and complications in every organ system. As a practitioner, I used to think it was simple. If you have pre-diabetes or diabetes then just cut out sugar. End of story. Over the last 15 years I realize my clinical arrogance needs to be examined. It's not so easy.
I have a patient, a sixty three year old male, who is diagnosed with diabetes and on daily insulin. He is careful about his food choices, sees his diabetes doctor regularly and tries to exercise. He buys everything "sugar free" and everything is packaged for convenience.
When I got a closer look at his diet a blurry picture came into focus. Sugar-free jello, sugar-free pudding snacks, lunchables, processed cheese sticks, diet coke, BJ size boxes of Splenda, sugar-free ketchup, reduced calorie bread, cold cuts, a tub of Helman's mayonnaise, Tyson breaded chicken nuggets, Land O Lakes butter with canola oil, Jolly Green Giant brussel sprouts in butter sauce flash frozen in plastic bags, and a slew of other assorted prepared foods that can be microwaved at a moment's notice are his staples.