Prevalence of Diabetes and Mental Health Issues in the UK – Diabetes Mellitus Example

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"Prevalence of Diabetes and Mental Health Issues in the UK" is a perfect example of a paper on diabetes mellitus. Diabetes and other lifestyle diseases are normally common among those with mental health diseases. This increases the chances of these people getting cardiovascular diseases in the process. Many people in society have a severe mental illness, and as a result, risk having diabetes due to the various lifestyle factors that they encounter in their daily lives (Holt and Peveler, 2010, 80). People suffering from severe mental illness are likely to be jobless, have low-income levels, and at the same time have poor diets, thus, in essence, are likely to suffer from diabetes in the process (Poole and Higgo, 2013, 65).

Mental illness normally contributes highly to the risk of developing diabetes in individuals. Statistics show that diabetes is likely to occur two to three times in a population of severely mentally ill persons than it is likely to occur in the general population. The reasons for this phenomenon vary from environment to genetic as well as environmental and disease treatment factors (Holt, 2011, 273).

This creates a special link between these two illnesses and as such, those working in the psychiatric department need to liaise with those working at the various diabetes centers across the UK. The departments need to work as a team and give more attention to this relationship to determine where the connection lies and deal with it effectively. The connections may be at different levels like lifestyle, environmental or genetic. It can also be at the severe mental illness treatment level. In the UK, one in every five people who suffer from severe mental illness has diabetes.

This means that the entire population of those suffering from severe mental illness has 20%, diabetes patients. The figures are alarming and unless something comes up urgently and the two departments on mental illness and diabetes work hand in hand then, they are likely to rise. Among those suffering from severe mental illness, there is a prevalence of type 2 diabetes at the rate of 20% in comparison to the public who suffer the same type of diabetes (UK life science, 2009, 20).

This again serves to show just how vulnerable the British population with severe mental illness is when it comes to diabetes. When people with schizophrenia, a type of mental illness undergo screening, the results show that over 30% of these people have poor glucose tolerance indicating the presence of diabetes in their blood system (UK life science, 2009, 26). These figures are alarming perhaps indicating the seriousness of the matter. It is a matter of concern to state that despite the results and the consequent knowledge on the relationship between severe mental illness and diabetes, there are very few research outcomes in this field and many more people continue to suffer, and some even die in the end.   To deal with this menace, the health sector needs to change its approach in dealing with the issue of mental illness and diabetes.

Firstly, those suffering from severe mental illness need screening for diabetes as they are at risk of developing the same. The health sector should know that people with mental illness are more likely to die from cardiovascular diseases such as diabetes in a premature manner and so physical well-being should be part of their therapy (Preedy and Watson, 2010, 70).

There are drugs otherwise known as antipsychotics for the treatment of mental illness that contribute to weight gain, which should be taken with a lot of moderation to avoid the prevalence of diabetes among those with severe mental illness.


Holt, R., & Peveler, R. (2010). Diabetes and cardiovascular risk in severe mental illness: a missed opportunity and challenge for the future. Practical Diabetes International, 27(2), 79-84ii.

Holt, R. (2011). Undoing Descartes: integrating diabetes care for those with mental illness. Practical Diabetes International, 28(6), 270-275.

Poole, R., & Higgo, R. (2013). Mental Health and Poverty. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Preedy, V. R., & Watson, R. R. (2010). Handbook of disease burdens and quality of life measures. New York: Springer.

UK life science: diabetes research in the UK.. (2009). London: UK Trade & Investment.

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