Diabetes warning: The 5 ways killer disease can harm your mental health revealed

MENTAL health issues are common place and many people suffer with depression or anxiety.

But experts have now claimed that diabetes could actually have a negative impact on your mental health.

With type 1 diabetes, a person’s pancreas produces no insulin, but in type 2, cells in the body become resistant to insulin, so a greater amount of insulin is needed to keep blood glucose levels within a normal range.

Researchers looked at a group of people with type 2 diabetes and found that the risk of developing type 2 diabetes is increased for people who have most psychiatric disorders.

Previous research found that people with type 2 diabetes have higher rates of conditions like bipolar, schizophrenia and major depression, in comparison to the wider population.

Now experts at the University of Southern Denmark say that there are a broad range of mental health issues that could be suffered by people with diabetes.

Study author, Nanna Lindekild said that her team reviewed data from studies on the link between diabetes and mental health from 1980 until 2020.

She said: "It is interesting to see that across all the investigated psychiatric disorders, we see a relatively high prevalence of type 2 diabetes.

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"Previously, most research had particularly focused on individuals with, [for example], schizophrenia or depression, but our review highlights the importance to focus on a broader range of psychiatric disorders", she told Medical News Today.

The team found that one of the main issues people with type two diabetes struggle with is sleep disorders.

They said that 39.7 per cent of people with diabetes have a sleep disorder.

Experts at the Sleep Foundation say that decreased sleep is a risk factor for increased blood sugar levels.

"Even partial sleep deprivation over one night increases insulin resistance, which can in turn increase blood sugar levels.

"As a result, a lack of sleep has been associated with diabetes, a blood sugar disorder."

The second mental health issue diabetics struggle with is binge eating and a 2020 study previously found that type 2 diabetes is often associated with an increased risk of disordered eating behaviours.

The experts found that 20.7 per cent of people with diabetes also struggled with a binge eating disorder.

What are the symptoms of type 2 diabetes that you need to know?

Type 2 diabetes is when the insulin the pancreas makes can’t work properly, or the pancreas can’t make enough insulin. This means blood glucose (sugar) levels become too high.

According to the NHS, the symptoms of type 2 diabetes to watch out for include: 

  1. Peeing more than usual, particularly at night
  2. Feeling thirsty all the time
  3. Feeling very tired
  4. Losing weight without trying to
  5. Itching around your penis or vagina, or repeatedly getting thrush
  6. Getting cuts or wounds taking longer to heal
  7. Having blurred vision

The third is anxiety disorders and around one in five people with insulin-treated type 2 diabetes are believed to suffer with feelings of anxiety.

The experts found that 13.7 per cent of diabetics had an anxiety disorder.

These are usually associated with the complications which come with being diabetic and how your quality of life is impacted by the condition.

Other mental health issues suffered by diabetics included bipolar disorder (11.4 per cent) and psychosis (11.1 per cent).

Experts have said that the findings of the review are 'not surprising' given the high numbers of people with diabetes who also suffer with psychiatric disturbances.

The other main issues diabetics suffer with were found to be substance use disorders and intellectual disability.

The experts however state that the review does not explain the underlying causes of the illness as they had been done at one point in time, so it's not clear if the diabetes came before or after diagnosis and symptoms of mental health issues.

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