Schizophrenia Boosts Diabetes Complication Risk

Schizophrenia puts diabetics at considerably higher risk of hospitalization for preventable diabetes complications, Canadian researchers report.

It’s unclear how many people have both conditions, but Drs. Taryn Becker and Janet Hux of the University of Toronto observe that when diabetes and psychiatric disorders coexist, patients are likely to have trouble meeting diabetes treatment targets.

In an October 26th online paper in Diabetes Care, the authors report on a retrospective study involving 1262 newly diagnosed diabetics with schizophrenia and 3771 matched diabetics without schizophrenia.

Using Ontario province registry data from 1995 to 2005, the researchers found that over a mean follow-up of 4 years, more than 12% of patients with schizophrenia required at least 1 hospital visit for hypo- or hyperglycemia, compared to about 7% of controls (hazard ratio 1.74).

They were also at considerably greater risk of pneumonia (2.85% vs 1.62%) and death (3.80% vs 1.99%).

The patients with schizophrenia were more likely to have seen a primary care provider before the diagnosis of diabetes but less likely to have a usual care provider.

The researchers note that there were no financial barriers to access in this publicly funded system. On the other hand, they suggest, “physician visits for individuals with schizophrenia may not be providing the appropriate components of diabetes mellitus care.”

More directed attention may be needed, as providers might be focusing “on other patient needs, neglecting somatic health,” they conclude.

Diabetes Care. Posted online October 26, 2010. Abstract

Reported by Reuters Health (Nov 10)

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