The study, published online Monday in JAMA Internal Medicine, also says that dementia or even milder forms of cognitive impairment may increase the risk of experiencing low blood sugar, reports Science Daily.
Researchers analysed data from 783 diabetic participants and found that hospitalisation for severe hypoglycemia among the diabetic and elderly participants in the study was associated with a doubled risk of developing dementia.
Similarly, study participants with dementia were twice as likely to experience a severe hypoglycemic event.
The study results suggest some patients risk entering a downward spiral in which hypoglycemia and cognitive impairment fuel one another, leading to worse health, said Kristine Yaffe, senior author and principal investigator for the study.
"Older patients with diabetes may be especially vulnerable to a vicious cycle in which poor diabetes management may lead to cognitive decline and then to even worse diabetes management," said Yaffe, a professor of psychiatry, neurology and epidemiology at the University of California, San Francisco.