Washington: Diabetes patients are more likely to die from alcohol-related factors, accidents or suicide, new study has found.
The study, conducted at the University of Helsinki, suggested that the increased risk of death from these causes may be related to the mental health of patients, which may be adversely affected by the psychological burden of living with and self-treating this debilitating disease, with potentially serious complications. The findings appeared in the European Journal of Endocrinology.
Type-1 and type-2 diabetes are highly prevalent global diseases, causing millions of deaths every year. It is well known that diabetic patients have a higher risk of developing cardiovascular disease, cancer, and kidney disorders, which can lead to earlier death. However, more recently diabetes has been linked to an increased risk of depression but how poor mental health may affect patients with diabetes has not been fully investigated.
In this study, researchers assessed the alcohol-related, suicides or accidental causes of death of over 400,000 people with or without diabetes. The study reported that people with diabetes were much more likely to die from alcohol-related factors, accidents or suicide, especially patients that required regular, self-injections of insulin.
Researcher Leo Niskanen said, “We know that living with diabetes can lead to a mental-health strain. Having to monitor their glucose levels and inject themselves daily with insulin has a huge impact on daily life; simply eating, moving and sleeping all affect blood glucose levels. This strain combined with the anxiety of developing serious complications like heart or kidney disease may also take their toll on psychological well-being.”
The study has highlighted that there is a need for effective psychological support for people with diabetes. If they feel like they are under a heavy mental burden or consider that their use of alcohol is excessive, they should not hesitate to discuss these issues with their primary care physician. There are many ways that these problems can be managed, provided they are communicated.