Serious Mental Health Problems Raise Diabetes Risk


People with severe mental health conditions, including bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, are more than twice as likely as those without mental health issues to develop type 2 diabetes, report researchers at the University of California, San Francisco, in a study published in Diabetes Care.

Results showed that 28.1 percent of more than 15,000 people with severe mental illness had type 2 diabetes, compared to about 12.2 percent of the general population. By race, diabetes rates varied in people with mental illness:

  • Hispanics, 36.9 percent
  • African Americans, 36.3 percent
  • Asian Americans, 30.7 percent
  • Caucasians, 25.1 percent

Medications used to treat severe mental health conditions – antipsychotic drugs, for example – can cause weight gain, high cholesterol, and insulin resistance, increasing diabetes risk. Mental health-related stressors like unstable housing conditions and homelessness, food insecurity, low income, and  racial issues may raise diabetes risk even further.

Sourced from: Diabetes Care