Thursday, February 19, 2015
A new study has found that children with type I or juvenile diabetes were at a higher risk of developing psychiatric problems than their healthy counterparts.
Published in the journal Diabetes Care, the study used a national register to evaluate more than 17,000 children with diabetes born in Sweden between 1973 and 2009. More than 1,000,000 healthy kids as well as the healthy siblings of the diabetic children were recruited as controls.
The researchers consulted the medical records for diagnoses of common psychiatric conditions such as depression, suicide attempt, anxiety, eating disorder, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autism or other behavioural problems.
They found that kids with diabetes were twice as likely to receive a psychiatric diagnosis by age 18 compared to healthy controls and 1.7 times more likely to attempt suicide. The risk was the highest in children born between the years 1973–1986, after which it declined indicating improvement in diabetes care.
The researchers however found only a slight increased risk for psychiatric disorders among siblings, and no significant increase in any specific category of disorder. This indicates that the psychiatric issues among kids with diabetes could be due to the physiological effects of coping with diabetes rather than a genetic risk factor or family environment.
In the long run, type I diabetes is associated with certain physiological changes such as weight gain, pain, hypertension, heart disease, loss of motor skills, or blindness which can affect the emotional state. Providing adequate counselling and adopting effective lifestyle measures could help avert this adverse situation in children.
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