Diabetes and Schizophrenia

Source: The British Journal of Psychiatry
Pretty indian woman portrait
Pretty indian woman portrait

Schizophrenia is a chronic, severe mental disorder which affects the cognitive and behavioural aspects of a person. In schizophrenia, the person cannot differentiate between what is real and what is imaginary. Its symptoms include delayed thinking and response system, changed physical movements and facial expressions, detachment from the outer world, distorted speech, reduced feelings and emotions and frequent episodes of hallucination.

Diabetes mellitus is a chronic condition in which the pancreas either stops producing enough insulin or the produced insulin is not efficient to consume glucose appropriately. This leads to high blood glucose levels in the body. Many research studies have tried to understand the physiological, biological and genetic nature of the cognitive function. It has been found that cognitive health is associated with metabolic syndrome and both can affect each other. It may seem uncanny, but the risk of Diabetes is higher in people with schizophrenia than in non-schizophrenic people.

Significant studies have tried to trace the pathogenic (microorganisms that can cause a disease) link between schizophrenia and Diabetes. It is known that genes combine together to form a pathway within the cell rather than working independently. On this basis, studies have propounded that the pathogen action in Diabetes along with schizophrenia increases the risk of susceptibility to the genes that carry the traits of the diseases.

Factors such as family history, prenatal conditions, conditions during at the time of birth and foetal development play a crucial role in the occurrence of Diabetes in schizophrenia. Also, anti-psychotic medications have been found to induce insulin resistance and lead to Type 2 Diabetes. In rare cases, they can cause diabetic ketoacidosis. People who are prescribed anti-psychotic medicines are advised to regularly monitor their body weight, blood sugar levels and lipid levels.

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