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Mental illness patients at higher risk of Diabetes

Mental illness patients at higher risk of Diabetes

Type 2 diabetes is likely to occur more than twice in people suffering from serious mental illness, according to a new study published in the journal Diabetes Care. The study led by the University of California–San Francisco(UCSF) found that 28.1% out of more than 15000 patients with serious mental disorder suffered from T2 diabetes. However, 12.2 percent of the general population is estimated to have the disease.

The study also found that the incidences were 36.9 percent for Hispanics, 36.3 percent for African Americans and 30.7 percent for Asians – versus 25.1 percent for whites, all belonging to racial/ethnic minorities. Prediabetes, in which blood sugar levels are elevated, was also found to be high among people with the severe mental illness. Close to half were found to have prediabetes, versus an estimated one-third of the general population. The condition was more common among those who were minorities and as young as 20 years of age.

Christina Mangurian and her colleagues conducted a study to follow their previous research that linked severe mental illness to low levels of testing for diabetes, low rates of HIV testing–despite a significantly higher likelihood of being HIV positive and among women, low rates of screening for cervical cancer.

The study utilized a database of health information from patients with severe mental illness collected by Kaiser Permanente Northern California. The study included patients who were also in the Kaiser Permanente diabetes registry and assessed the prevalence of prediabetes by analyzing patients’ hemoglobin A1C and fasting glucose levels.

“Antipsychotic medications prescribed for conditions like schizophrenia and bipolar disorder may cause weight gain and impact cholesterol levels and insulin resistance,” said Mangurian, the Vice Chair for Diversity and Health Equity in the UCSF Department of Psychiatry.”Additionally, people with severe mental illness have more tenuous life circumstances, including food insecurity, low income, and unstable housing situations, which all increase their risk of diabetes. Stressors such as structural racism compound these problems in minorities.” he added.

“The results of the study indicate that we should be screening all patients with severe mental illness for diabetes,” said Mangurian. “I view this as an opportunity to change how doctors think about health screening and to help prevent diabetes. By diagnosing prediabetes early, we can help patients make lifestyle modifications or start medicine so that they don’t develop diabetes.”

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Source: With inputs from the journal Diabetes Care

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