London : People who suffer with early schizophrenia may also be at risk of developing diabetes, even before being prescribed anti-psychotic drugs and a poor lifestyle – poor diet and sedentary behaviour – associated with prolonged period of illness, a study has found, says IANS.

Schizophrenia – a brain disorder in which people interpret reality abnormally – is known to be associated with a reduced life expectancy of up to 30 years. This is largely due to the onset of Type 2 diabetes, which increases the risk of physical health disorders such as heart attack or stroke, the researchers said.

“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 lead author Toby Pillinger from King’s College London.

The findings showed that people with long-term schizophrenia are three times more likely than the general population to have diabetes, something which has previously been attributed to poor diet and exercise habits in this group, as well as the use of antipsychotic medication.

For the study, the team examined data from 16 studies comprising 731 people with a first episode of schizophrenia and 614 people from the general population.

Blood tests revealed that people with schizophrenia had higher levels of insulin and insulin resistance, which increased their risk of developing Type 2 diabetes compared with healthy controls.

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