Serious Mental Health Problems Raise Diabetes Risk

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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