Researchers at the the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience, King's College London, United Kingdom have found that patients with early schizophrenia have an increased risk of diabetes, reported Medscape Medical News.

Increased Risk of Diabetes with Schizophrenia
Among those living with the brain disorder that impacts an individual's ability to think and behave distinctly, researchers found heightened levels of fasting plasma glucose. Upon first-episode psychosis in patients, insulin resistance was found to be inflated while tolerance to glucose was decreased. These findings from the study published Jan. 11 in JAMA Psychiatry occurred even when removing diabetes risk factors such as poor diet and lack of exercise from the data.

The investigators concluded that when compared to the rest of the population, patients with long-term schizophrenia are three times as likely to have Type 2 diabetes.

"This is a wake-up call that we need to consider diabetes prevention right from the onset of schizophrenia," study investigator Toby Pillinger, told Medscape Medical News.

According to the American Diabetes Association, insulin resistance is when the body responds poorly to insulin and does not use it as it should, a risk factor for both hypertension and obesity. Most often, those with Type 2 diabetes have insulin resistance, though it can also occur in those with Type 1 diabetes. Prevention methods include maintaining a healthy body weight, eating right and getting enough regular physical activity. One way to make healthy eating habits easier or maintain proper sugar intake for those with diabetes is to use MiraBurst miracle fruit tablets. Temporarily masking the taste of sour or acidic foods, these berry tablets modify the flavor of healthy foods into sweet treats!

Moreover, diagnosing and then treating diabetes early enough can help to ease the risk of serious health complications related to the disease, according to the ADA.

The Study
Once someone has been living with schizophrenia for several years, it's more likely that he or she will adopt the unhealthy habits that lead to a greater risk of diabetes, such as poor diet and lack of physical activity. As such, the goal of the study was to find out whether or not diabetes risk was already present in patients at the time of a schizophrenia diagnosis, reported Science Daily. The research team analyzed figures from 16 different studies to get the data of 731 patients with a first episode of schizophrenia and 614 people from the general population.

As highlighted above, blood tests revealed that patients with schizophrenia had higher rates of insulin resistance and fasting blood glucose than the control group. This data was still noteworthy when studies were matched by ethnicity, diet and exercise habits, pointing toward the role of schizophrenia itself on diabetes risk. The investigators also noted schizophrenia-related stress, developmental factors and premature birth - that is common among schizophrenia patients - as also increasing the risk of diabetes among those with the chronic mental disorder.

"Our findings tell us that people with early schizophrenia have already started down the road to developing diabetes, even if they haven't been diagnosed with diabetes yet," said Pillinger.

The researchers called for new approaches to slowing the growing gap in mortality rates between those with schizophrenia and the rest of the population, highlighting the need to recognize physical health - and risk factors for future disease such as diabetes - at the initial diagnosis of schizophrenia.