The physical health problems associated with diabetes are well understood and publicised. For example, diabetics have an increased risk of developing cancer, kidney disorders and cardiovascular disease.
But what about the mental impact of living with diabetes? It’s not something that gets a lot of attention, but the findings of a new study could see it thrust under the spotlight.
That’s because the study by researchers from Finland found a worrying connection between diabetes and the risk of someone dying by suicide or alcoholism.
According to the study, diabetics are more than 10 times more likely to die as a result of alcoholism – predominantly cirrhosis of the liver – and 110% more likely to commit suicide than the general population.
The highest risk was seen among diabetes patients who rely on regular insulin injections to avoid serious health complications.
Professor Leo Niskanen, of the University of Helsinki, who led the study, said diabetes patients who have to monitor their glucose levels and administer insulin frequently suffer tremendous mental strain.
“This strain combined with the anxiety of developing serious complications like heart or kidney disease may also take their toll on psychological well-being,” he said.
Is it time we started talking about the mental health implications of living with diabetes?