I've been having some pretty bad short term memory loss lately. :( It's been going on the past few years ever since I had a seizure from an extreme low.In the 25+ yrs of being diabetic I've had 3 extreme lows like that prior to pump therapy.(the last 2 I went into a seizure and the first one I lost consciousness but did not have a seizure). The last seizure I actually passed out, hit my face and head on the side of the bathroom door ,bruised my face and had a fat lip then went into the seizure! Not a pretty thing!
But I have noticed that my memory has gotten worse over time. I have talked to several Dr's over the years about this and have wondered if it was from my last seizure which was about 6 yrs ago now and could that have contributed to the issues I'm having now. They all said that low's can kill brain cells. I also realize having D's for so long now can contribute to memory loss as well. But maybe it's not even related to D's. I'm actually pretty concerned about this because I'm only in my early 30's and it's effecting my daily life now and it can sometimes be really embarrassing when I don't remember things I should. I have been referred to a neurologist to be checked out but honestly I'm kind of scared.:-( I started taking Ginkgo Biloba to see if that would help at all but know it takes time to start working. So my question is how many of you are experiencing similar problems? If so, have you been able to do anything to help with it? I'm wondering how common this is among us that have D's for such long periods of time. Thanks for any feedback you may have!

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Replies to This Discussion

Hi Stacey,
I've been struggling with same issues. I've been diabetic for 48 years but I also am 56 years old so I've always figured that it was just an age related thing. I have had several huge diabetic low's causing seizure like symptoms (arms flailing around, inability to talk , passing out,etc) over the last couple of years. Now that I'm on CGS it has helped some. I know that my mother (not diabetic) puts things away and then can never find them etc and the same thing is happening to me. Its very frustrating so I can comiserate with you! I don't know if diabetes has anything to do with this. Lots of things kill brain cells (alcoholism just one of them also) and the brain is miraculous at healing itself over time. I'll be interested to hear if anyone else your age struggles with this. Keep me posted okay?
One thing I was reading your post and you may have had a concussion when you hit your head during your seizure. Concussions can affect you years later. One thing is you can have short-term memory loss and that can be so frustrating.
It shows in things like telling your husband something and then completely forgetting you told him and telling him the same thing 2 hours later. It is good you are seeing a neurologist but you also want to ask for a referral to a pschologist who is certified in testing for cognitive and memory problems.
The person can run the tests and then also give you tools to help you cope with your memory problems. I highly recommend doing so. I wish you the best in finding a way to deal with your memory problems. Don't feel bad about it. I have to write everything down or I forget. I am thinking for 3 people myself, My Sister, and my Mother and it is hard keeping everything straight let alone remembering things.
I wish you the best.
You should look into other areas in your life as well....

People in general are so stessed form the 24/7 mode we have all elapsed into. Few of us know when and how to really decompress.

I can't say I know too many people today who say they are always remember and are not stressed. Spoke to a 24yr old last week with same complaints..not a D
Thanks for the feedback from both of you. I would be interested from hearing from anyone else who may be experiencing anything similar. I know some memory loss is normal for most people but I'm at the point where it's not so normal any longer and don't believe it's due to just day to day stress. I have other people who are close to me noticing it too. An example is I will have a conversation with my husband and forget having it with him the same day. I will ask him a question and he will say you already asked me that like 2 hours ago... don't you remember? Quite often I have no recollection of it. It's been happening more and more lately so its a concern to us both now.
I did see my Dr this week and asked her if it was very common for diabetics that have had D's for a long period of time(20+ yrs) to start having memory problems. She said that it was common. I was also looking up if taking ginkgo biloba as a diabetic was safe and it cautioned against it saying it can cause unpredictable blood sugars. I have actually noticed my blood sugars going high recently for no reason I could understand while I have been taking it. I didn't realize your blood sugar could be effected by Gingko Biloba. When I told my DR I started taking it she didn't caution me against it so I thought it was okay. It seems like everything is unsafe to take when you are diabetic! It annoys me so much! So I guess I will have to stop that now.:-( What a bummer! So I guess I'm off to the neurologist soon to see what he says. Yippeee!!

Good luck with the neuro. Ginkgo is probably okay for T1s, most of the warnings are for T2s (and get stuck on the label because the FDA & the lawyers say so).

It looks like it helps thin your blood, so if you are taking other 'scripts to help w/cholesterol, BP, heart, it can be contraindicated. For diabetics, if you are taking it regularly and are frequently monitoring your BG, you should be OK. Of course, it may be a bit dubious if Ginkgo helps your memory, but I won't go there. Of course, when we tried ginkgo some years ago, we kept forgetting to take it :)

Another thing to try is active listening. Do things like repeat back what was said to you. This is good anyway because sometimes we "hear" things differently than what was said/meant.

Fair winds,
Thanks for the feedback Mike! I have stopped taking the Ginkgo for now afraid it was making my sugars go up. I am using a BP medication for slightly elevated BP but nothing else currently. I do frequently test so I may try the Ginkgo again at some point. But it did seem like the Ginkgo was raising it. Since I have been off I've gotten great readings lately..better than usual. But I've been trying some new things to help with my D's so I'm trying not to change too many things at once so I can figure out what effects my sugars in what ways. The active listening is a good idea too!
Been diabetic 57 years. I forget things frequently but have come to the conclusion that not particularily caring about what I can't remember contributes big to this. Things important to me I am far less likely to forget. I'm sure this is true with most folks, diabetic or not.
This is not to say D doesn't contribute to memory loss. I wish I knew for sure.
I'm in my 57th year a T1. I'm surprised you have only had bad hypo. attacks just five times in 46 years. Is it because your glucose was usually way to high? I didn't take good care of myself as a teen, and even later, but I still would have severe hypo. attacks. About four per year is my best guess. Decades ago, my wife got me to finally realize it would benefit me to keep glucose down. IStill had reactions. Almost always during sleep time. Only when I finally got my CGM did hypo. attacks totally stop. Neither my wife, or myself, any longer fear unexpected hypoglycemic attacks. The CGM, used properly is the best thing for T1 since synthetic insulin.
I have noticed no impairement to my memory. I must say, I sure don't like what you described in regards to memory loss. I fear it may not be due to your T1 at all.
Good luck, Dan.
I to have this problem. It's really bad, I'v had type 1 Diabetes for45 yrs. I'm 46. I started having this problem in my 30's also. forgetting numbers, phone numbers, things to do. Now I'm 46 and I'm very concerned, it's alot worse now. My husband does the cooking now, it's funny I know, but not? I would turn the stove on burn everything even water. Turn the oven on, not put anything in there, Mom? Do you have anything in the oven or are you putting something in? Nooo. Forgot completely what I was doing. I'll being doing dishes leave the water running and go vacuum the bedrooms. I forget Dr's appointments and sometimes to give boluses. Sometimes I like will be like in a daze, but not thinking of anything. Like a absent feeling if that makes since. When I would go to the grocery store it would take like 2 or 3 hours! Even with a list. I would be in a isle getting shampoo, my husband would go and get other items to done faster come back to my isle I would be still standing in front of the shampoo. That's scary. When I go to stores by myself sometimes three hours will pass. I too think it's from the low bloodsugars I'v had alot of them. It's better now on the pump but I still can go from 468 to 36 in 1 hour. I wanted to talk to the doctor about it but I'm scared. I think he would say "if it's that bad maybe you should drive". I have not had a seizure since I was 13. Ginkgo Biloba is good. It helps thin the blood allowing more blood and oxygen to the brain. And helps circulation. Let me know if you found anything out? Vicky
Thanks for responding Vicki. I'm sorry to hear you're having similar issues but glad I'm not the only one! I do a lot of the same things that you have mentioned and sometimes feel like I'm in a total brain fog. My DR put me on a mega dose of Vitamin D because it was low in my labs 3 months ago. She tested me for it when I mentioned having memory problems and feeling tired all the time. My new labs are supposed to come back any day to see if it's gone back up or not. But low Vit.D levels can effect memory along with many other problems.
I wasn't sure if it was helping or not but have recently started feeling like I have more energy and my memory doesn't seem as bad as it was(not perfect but somewhat better). I don't know how long it takes to work (at least I don't remember if I was told that or not..Ha! Ha!). I understand you being scared to talk to the DR Vicki but it could be something as simple as your Vit.D levels being low as mine were. She also tested my B-12 levels but they were fine. I'm hoping the Vit.D continues to help and I'm putting off the trip to the Neurologist(at least for now) and see how I do!! Fingers crossed..when I remember!! ;) LOL.
Hi. I've had diabetes for 27 years now and I definitely have noticed my memory "going". I tend to repeat what I've said, even in the same hour. I also tend to tell my partner the same stories more than once and I swore I never uttered the words. Sometimes I can't even remember if something actually happened to me or if I've heard a story and in my memory, I was there. This has been happening at least the last 5 years and I'm 35. It is scary.
I have had memory problems that I think, are a combination of: blood sugars dropping and low thryoid issues. I find that if I do not take my levothryoxine ( synthroid) tablets, my memory gets worse and I cannot multi-task well, always misplacing things. When I have stable blood glucoses, with no wide excursions, I also have a pretty good memory. I will repeat: I have a doubly bad memory when dropping blood sugars are combined with hypothryoidism.
I am going, hopefully soon , to get a CGMS so I can be aware of the dropping nature and can adjust my basals more easily. I will also have to take the thyroid medication as prescribed.

Have your thryoid levels been checked?

God Bless,
Type 1 for 41, almost 42 years and thankful to be here, whole, healthy, and happy!!




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