Science

Schizophrenia Directly Linked To Diabetes

By Anne Dominguez , Jan 16, 2017 11:39 AM EST
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Schizophrenia, minus other possible factors like diet, exercise and effects of antipsychotic drugs is directly linked to diabetes. A study suggests that people with early schizophrenia have higher risk of developing diabetes. The risk is already present at the onset of schizophrenia.

Schizophrenia is a mental condition which includes abnormal social behavior and failure to distinguish reality. It affects about 0.3 to 0.7 percent of the population worldwide. It also accounts to one percent of worldwide disability adjusted life years and 20,000 deaths in 2010. The life expectancy of people with schizophrenia is reduced to up to 30 years due to poor lifestyle, risks of suicide and health disorders such as heart attack and type 2 diabetes.

In a study published JAMA Psychiatry, researchers from King's College London analyzed if diabetes risk is already present to schizophrenia patients without any other factors. Previously diabetes is linked to the use antipsychotic drugs and poor lifestyle such as poor diet and sedentary behavior. They analyzed blood tests from 731 patients diagnosed at first episode of schizophrenia and 614 healthy control population.

The results suggest that people with early schizophrenia show clinical indicators of diabetes risk. Majority had higher levels of fasting plasma glucose and fasting plasma insulin. They also have reduced glucose tolerance and increased insulin resistance. The researchers highlighted that the increased risk of diabetes upon the onset of schizophrenia might be due to shared genetic risk and shared developmental risk factors.

"Our findings tell us that people with early schizophrenia have already started down the road to developing diabetes, even if they haven't been diagnosed with diabetes yet," Dr Toby Pillinger, first author of the study from the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience (IoPPN) at King's College London said. He added that the mortality rate of people with schizophrenia is increasing.

The researchers emphasized that because some antipsychotic drugs also increase the risk of diabetes, doctors should take this into consideration in giving prescriptions. Pillinger also said that patients should be encouraged to have proper lifestyle to combat the risk of diabetes. "These findings are a wake-up call that we need to rethink the link between diabetes and schizophrenia and start prevention right from the onset of schizophrenia," he said.

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