Diabetic patients are more likely to die from alcohol-related factors, accidents, or suicide, according to a new study.
The study’s findings suggest 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 the debilitating disease, with potentially serious complications.
Type-1 and type-2 diabetes are highly prevalent diseases, causing millions of deaths every year around the globe.
It is 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 diabetics has not been fully investigated, the researchers pointed out.
In a nationwide Finnish study, Professor Leo Niskanen and his research team from the University of Helsinki and Tampere and Helsinki University Hospital, assessed the alcohol-related, suicides, or accidental causes of death of more than 400,000 people, some with diabetes, some without the disease.
The study found 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.
“We know that living with diabetes can lead to a mental-health strain,” Niskanen said.
“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 researchers plan to carry out a more in-depth investigation of the risk factors and mechanisms underpinning these findings to help identify strategies to avoid future deaths.
The influence of drugs such as antidepressants, the occurrence of diabetic complications such as low blood glucose, or the socioeconomic status of patients will also be considered, the researchers noted.
The study was published in the European Journal of Endocrinology.