June 11, 2006

20% of people with Schizophrenia will get Diabetes?

In a very informative story printed in today's New York Times, they state that "Among the mentally ill, roughly one in five people appear to develop diabetes - about double the normal rate."

Diabetes is a known risk factor with schizophrenia - and is linked to the side effect of the medications, as well as to the tendancy for an innactive life style and poor eating and nutritional habits. The take home message for anyone who has schizophrenia, as well as their family members, is to work towards a health diet - avoid the sugar-filled sodas, candies and junk food - eat fresh vegetables and fruits and get out and walk as much as possible to get some exercise. Make sure the doctor is checking your blood sugar level on a regular basis, as well as other standard health measures like blood pressure and cholesterol levels. We highly recommend you also log onto the New York times web site and read the entire 5-page article - its important for everyone to understand this issue.

The story notes:

Dr. John Newcomer is a psychiatrist who generally treats people with severe ailments of the mind and spirit. But before his patients sit down, before he hears about their clammy paranoia or renegade voices, Dr. Newcomer wants to know about their waist size.

He steers them to a scale to learn their weight. He orders a blood sugar test. If big numbers come up, he begins a conversation about Type 2 diabetes, a disease associated with obesity that is appearing with alarming frequency among the mentally ill.

"Uncontrolled diabetes can ruin a person's life as much as uncontrolled schizophrenia," said Dr. Newcomer, a professor of psychiatry at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.

In fact, among the mentally ill, roughly one in every five appear to develop diabetes — about double the rate of the general population. This is a little-recognized surge, but one that is jolting mental health professionals into rethinking how they care for an often neglected population.

For decades, psychiatrists have worried primarily about patients' mental states, making sure they did no harm to themselves or others because of unrelenting voices or a smothering depression.

Far more of the mentally ill, however, die today from diabetes and complications like heart disease than from suicide. Given that mental health specialists are often the only doctors a mentally ill diabetic ever sees, some have begun to debate the customary limits of psychiatric practice, deciding to pay much more attention to physical ailments.

Read the full story on the New York Times web site (free registration required): In Diabetes, One More Burden for the Mentally Ill


My son with ''treatment resistant schizophrenia'' has suffered horrendous side effects from meds. He's now 2 weeks into Clozapine- he's now hypersalivating chronically. This all seems like torture. How long will he be drooling and suffering, before clozapine gives him some quality of life? He's 29 years old. I'd say his meds. have made him very ill over the years. He is in hospital asking how long before the clozapin works, what will happen to me if it does not work, and how long will I be hypersalivating?
replies to walshsunset@ntlworld.com

Posted by: Jane at February 26, 2007 01:07 PM

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