Memory and Concentration

I was diagnosed with diabetes when i was 2 years old. Now i am 27 and a doctor...just got my degree but havent specialized in any field as yet. I want to specialize in ophthalmology. I developed Proliferative diabetic retionopathy 2 years back. My problem is that i am unable to concentrate on anything i read now,let alone memorizing it. I have alot of studying to do for my specialization but when i started studying for it, i couldnt even recall the basics. I read that one of the side effects of insulin is loss of memory. I have discussed my problem with my doctors here and have written to some international consultants as well but no help so far :( I am sick of explaining to people why am i not studying further?it is just so frustrating.once i was an ace student of my i feel i dont know anything.i just keep forgetting things :(

First off I am so encouraged to hear what you have accomplished already at 27. If you're most doctors I know you're a type-a perfectionist and probably your own harshest critic.

As my wife and I have gotten older, we've noticed different things have affected memory - including pregnancy (which is a widespread, observed phenomena). By not being able to read as much or as often, I suspect that those portions of your brain may becoming "out of shape."

Nonetheless I'd wager that even with the loss you've experienced, you're still smarter than the average bear.

Don't be so hard on yourself !! --- and work with what you've got. It's evident you've been able to get pretty far even with the hindrance that diabetes has imposed on you. I'd still easily point you out as role model for my teenage T1 daughter.

     Don't discount yourself after everything you've already accomplished.  I know I want to do more than I  realistically am able to, but that doesn't stop me from trying.  Maybe you should explore more options and opportunities, because it seems like you would make a tremendous difference no matter what type of work you do.  Sometimes our limitations help to guide us and provide more chances.  Try to find the positive no matter what.

I have noticed similar things to you.  It seems to take extra concentration to read through financial reports in order to remember things.  I often jot down notes so I don't forget.  I've got post it's all over!  I have looked into a few reports regarding diabetes and the brain but it seems as if researchers are still in the early stages of gathering data.  Like the others have said, cut yourself a break.  You have accomplished a lot so far and should be proud of where you are at.  Maybe give yourself a bit of a break and come back to it at a later date. (if that is an option for you) 

I also have been thinking this for myself. I feel I was smarter when I was younger and now that im 26 I cant focus on reading, cant remember things ive read and even when I was in school and they made you read a book and write about it I never could remember things in the book.

My mom has recently been telling me I dont pay attention when she talks, i dont remember things she tells me. Its seems to be getting worse. Ill know I need to do something or where I put something but cant remember.

Does Diabetes cause something where you lose your memory or concentration?

Thank you guys. you all are a big support.i wonder why i didnt join this site earlier?but tell u what?i live in the part of the world where people still have alot to learn about diabetes.many kids die undiagnosed or end up dying due to DKA.It is one the expensive diseases in Pakistan because everyone cannot afford buying insulins here.My point is that people question me about not studying further and they will keep on doing so till God knows when,knowing i am a diabetic.i have chosen an alternative for myself which would keep me connected to ophthalmology although nothing can be compared to doing a surgery.I did my first cataract surgery on a 55 year old lady and by the grace of God her eye sight was pretty good after that.It's just sad to think it might be my first and last surgery as a surgeon :( anyway...thank you all again for your kind words.God bless you all.

im not sure wether its diabetes or insulin causing loss of memory. as far as ive studied diabetes,it is the side effect of long term use of insulin.i will try to find out more about it as soon as i get time :)

I use to know this, but I can't remember right now (the horrible thing is I'm not being sarcastic).

I seem to remember there was research about how the high and low sugar levels effect memory recall. Something about how the synapses in the brain are inturrupted or interferred with trying to access memories stored in the gray matter.

This is the first I've ever heard of it being caused by insulin. I always thought it was more like abnormal sugar levels are similar to the things you see in those "this is your brain on drugs" commercials.

I've read theories about persistent lows leading to "brain damage" - very low level damage, but damage nonetheless. If I can find the article again, I'll post it.

Yeah, I've heard about diabetes leading to cognitive changes, esp lows. If I were you, I'd explore techniques to compensate -- I'm sure you're a smart person and will find ways to work around your difficulties...

So, I was reading another thread from this DiabeticNewsHound guy, so I checked out his site, and it had this summary for you...

I was actually involved in that study at Joslin a few years ago, so maybe I'm one of the problem-ridden diabetics, lol!

Hi Fairy,I hope all is going well for you.It is something so smart at your young age.  :)

Here is an article that says that cognitive performance is lower in T1 Diabetics because of "microvascular complications."  I looked this up a few months ago because I was feeling the same way.  Just one more way that T1 affects us that the average person has no idea about.  I swear this disease isn't taken seriously enough...

However, on a positive note, my doctor recently checked my vitamin D levels and they were really low.  He gave me a prescription Vitamin D supplement.  One of the symptoms of Vitamin D deficiency is decreased ability to concentrate, so I'm hoping that as my Vitamin D levels are replenished, I'll feel a little sharper mentally.  Fairy, it couldn't hurt to get checked for Vitamin D or other Vitamin deficiencies if you haven't already.  It could be affecting your memory and concentration.


Molly, that's interesting about the Vit D. I've been feeling like my memory and attention aren't great in the last few years which is almost more depressing than any other complication. Last year, my endo found my Vit D was slightly low and put me on OTC supplements. She just retested and I haven't gotten the results yet of the vit D level. If they've gone back up and I'm still forgetting everything, I guess I'll just have to assume it's my poor brain. :P lol

hey Molly!

ive started going to this new endocrinologist here and after discussing all my problems with him, he took my attention to Vit D and when i got my levels checked;they were low so now im taking Vit D injections every month.i was planning to put this up here on juvenation but due to my post grad classes, i didnt get the time for glad that u did :) alot of diabetics would benifit from this.