I have read several responses by your "Ask the Expert" team about the relationship between bipolar disorder and diabetes, and it seems the team is discouraging the idea, yet there is research occurring. Duke University commented on this, although I don't think they were specifically looking at it, and Dalhouse Medical School is also looking at possible genetic links between the two illnesses. In Increased prevalence of type 2 diabetes mellitus among psychiatric inpatients with bipolar I affective and schizoaffective disorders independent of psychotropic drug use. J Affect Disord. 2002 Jun;70(1):19-26, the University of Maryland School of Medicine assessed the prevalence of type 2 diabetes and found 26% of the bipolar subjects and 50% of the subjects with schizoaffective disorder had it.
I would imagine that there is a relationship with type 1 diabetes as well, since I know several people who are bipolar and schizophrenics and type 1 diabetes. I am a patient with bipolar disorder (since early childhood), Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (since my teens), and type 2 (since my twenties). The relationship between PCOS and type 2 is documented, and there is research on PCOS and bipolar disorder (although they are looking at Depakote as a cause, but many of us were diagnosed with the disorders before ever taking it). Why would it be hard to see a relationship between manic-depression and diabetes?
Both diabetes and bipolar disorders are relatively common, so for that reason alone, the two problems will inevitably sometimes coexist. However, there does also seems to be a common denominator with typeá2 diabetes in that there is a very significant association between bipolar disorders and obesity and in turn between obesity insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. However, I don't believe that autoimmunity, which is the basis of typeá1 diabetes, plays any direct role in bipolar disorders.
Original posting 14 Jan 2003
Posted to Other Illnesses
Last Updated: Tuesday April 06, 2010 15:09:42
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