By Colin Kenny, Editor – Diabetes Distilled
Investigators examined a large general practice database to discover the patterns of comorbidities occurring in patients with type 2 diabetes over time. They quantified highly prevalent and well-recorded physical and mental health conditions, and then followed patients up at intervals over 9 years. They discovered that comorbidities are common in this population, with high between-patient variability in comorbidity patterns. They found that mental health is a growing concern and suggested that a population of people living with diabetes should have both their physical and mental health carefully addressed.
Researchers recognised that, as the prevalence of type 2 diabetes increases, so should the prevalence of other comorbid conditions. They used the UK Clinical Practice Research Datalink to identify 102,394 patients who were diagnosed with type 2 diabetes between 2007 and 2017. They then analysed the 18 most common comorbid conditions associated with diabetes, identifying the six that were most often present at diagnosis, and followed up patients with these conditions at intervals.
They identified increasing levels and trends of depression prevalence, which they felt could have major consequences for healthcare systems. The researchers felt that healthcare providers need to respond to a growing need for the diagnosis and management of mental health problems among people with type 2 diabetes, as there are established links between depression and poor glycaemic control. They also highlighted the need to address the present and increasing health inequalities, particularly as a higher prevalence of comorbidities was found in patients from more deprived areas.
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