Diabetes

How is diabetes related to bipolar disorder?

People with bipolar disorder may show increased rates of unrelated co-occurring illnesses, one example is diabetes. Diabetes is a state of impaired insulin function, either as a result of reduced insulin production (type I diabetes) or reduced insulin responsiveness (type II diabetes). Insulin regulates blood glucose levels, and reduced insulin function effectively increases blood glucose levels (hyperglycaemia). This is a dangerous state in the long term, and can ultimately damage the retina, kidneys, nerves and blood vessels. Consequently, effective management of diabetes is crucial. It is unclear if any increased risk in people with bipolar disorder is purely a consequence of biological risk, the metabolic impact of antipsychotic administration, or unhealthy lifestyle choices, but it is likely a combination of many factors.

What is the evidence for comorbid diabetes?

Moderate quality evidence suggests the overall prevalence of type 2 diabetes in people with bipolar disorder is ~9.4%, with a small to medium-sized increased risk of diabetes when compared to age and gender-matched controls.

April 2019

Last updated at: 6:21 am, 9th April 2019
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