Relatives of patients with schizophrenia are at higher risk of developing diabetes, researchers in the Netherlands have revealed.
A study conducted by Hanneke van Welie, of the University Medical Centre Utrecht, and colleagues found that the relatives of patients with non-affective psychotic disorders were 1.6 times more likely to have diabetes than relatives of individuals without psychosis .
For their research, the team analysed medical data on 1740 unaffected relatives of patients diagnosed with a non-affective psychotic disorder, and 1271 relatives of people without a family history of psychosis (controls).
They discovered that the prevalence of diabetes was considerably higher among the first-, second-, and third-degree relatives of patients with psychosis (6.1 per cent) than in those of controls (3.6 per cent).
However, the difference in diabetes rates was even greater among relatives of psychosis patients over the age of 50 years (4.8 vs 1.2 per cent in the 50-59 years age group and 5.4 vs 2.5 per cent in the 60-69 years group).
The researchers said the elevated risk of diabetes mellitus in the absence of psychosis and antipsychotic medication suggests that familial factors play a role.
The study is published in Schizophrenia Research, the official journal of the Schizophrenia International Research Society (SIRS).

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