THE physical effects of diabetes are well known but the psychological impact of living with this relentless condition is often overlooked.
Parents have been warned that kids diagnosed with type 2 diabetes are at high risk of developing a debilitating mood disorder.
A new study revealed that people under the age of 40 who receive a type 2 diabetes diagnosis are at greater risk of depression than those who are diagnosed in later life.
Type 2 diabetes is a metabolic disorder that can develop when someone becomes insulin resistant.
Meanwhile, type 1 diabetes is autoimmune, meaning people are usually born with it.
Type 1 causes the body to kill off its own insulin producing cells.
At one stage, type 2 was thought to only occur in adults, however, it has become increasingly common for the condition to affect children – particularly those who are overweight or obese.
According to researchers, men who get diagnosed with type 2 diabetes before the age 40 are up to 57 per cent more likely to have depression than men who get diagnosed later.
Similarly, women who get diagnosed with the illness before turning 40, are up to 55 per cent more likely to develop the mood disorder than women who receive a diagnosis later.
Lead author of the study, Professor Sanjoy Paul of the University of Melbourne, Australia said the results of the study were “very troubling”.
“Our findings clearly highlight the mental health implications of developing type 2 diabetes at a young age and the importance of efforts to prevent diabetes early in life,” he explained.
Little is currently known about why depression can be brought on by early onset diabetes.
However, Prof Sanjoy said the connection may be “partially explained by a higher burden of other risk factors including obesity and smoking.”
Type 2 diabetes: need to know symptoms
Type 2 diabetes is when the insulin the pancreas makes doesn’t work properly, or the pancreas can’t make enough insulin. This means blood glucose (sugar) levels become too high.
- peeing more than usual, particularly at night
- feeling very tired after eating
- Feeling hungry shortly after eating
- losing weight without trying to
- itching around your penis or vagina, or repeatedly getting thrush
- cuts or wounds taking longer to heal
- blurred vision
Obesity and smoking are both often associated with emotional issues, such as sadness, anxiety, and depression.
According to Prof Sanjoy, those diagnosed with type 2 diabetes before the age of 40 were also “significantly” more likely to be living with obesity.
There are currently over four million people living with diabetes in the Britain, with type 2 diabetes accounting for roughly 90 per cent of all diabetic cases.
This means roughly one in every 18 Brits suffer from type 2 diabetes.
The findings also suggested that the number of people with both depression and diabetes in the UK is increasing among all ages.
Experts found that in 2006 only 29 per cent of people had both conditions, whereas by 2017 that had risen to 43 per cent.
The researcher called for regular mental health screening from the time of type 2 diabetes diagnosis — especially for those who are younger than 50.
“We need to dig deeper to understand the causes and effects of cardiometabolic risk factors before and after type 2 diabetes diagnosis on depression risk in different age groups, sex and ethnicities,” Prof Sanjoy added.
A new major study into diabetes has found that among the top 10 reasons for hospital admission, only four were “traditional” to diabetes.
These were cellulitis, heart failure, urinary tract infections, and skin abscesses.
The study categorised traditional complications as including:
Emerging side-effects included:
- Liver disease
- Mental health disorders
- Various cancers such as gastrointestinal
- Infections less commonly associated with diabetes, such as respiratory and sepsis
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