Early-stage schizophrenia associated with high risk of diabetes

According to a new study by researchers at King’s College London, people with first-episode schizophrenia are at an increased risk to develop type 2 diabetes. However, for those who experience long-term schizophrenia, they are three times more likely to end up with diabetes, based on the findings.

And here’s why: As published in JAMA Psychiatry, researchers analyzed data from 16 studies in which 614 of them are healthy patients, while 731 experienced a first-episode of schizophrenia.

After studying blood samples, studies uncovered a pattern linking schizophrenia with a higher risk of type 2 diabetes or ‘impaired glucose homeostasis’. As stated in the findings, glucose dysregulation is synonymous in first-episode schizophrenic patients included higher levels of insulin and insulin resistance.

It should also be noted that even with lifestyle changes or the amount of an antipsychotic used, type 2 diabetes was still a strong indicator in schizophrenic patients.

“Our main findings are that patients with schizophrenia show raised fasting plasma glucose levels, reduced glucose tolerance, raised fasting plasma insulin levels, and increased insulin resistance at illness onset,” said the lead researcher.

Moreover, schizophrenia and type 2 diabetes are also linked to early developmental risk factors including maternal malnutrition, low birth weight, among others.

Researchers concluded with the following statement: “The association between schizophrenia and glucose dysregulation suggests that patients should be educated regarding diet and physical exercise, as well as diabetic screening, and offered early lifestyle and pharmacologic interventions to combat the risk of progression to type 2 diabetes.”

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