Although adults with serious psychiatric disorders are at high risk for diabetes, a large study led by UC San Francisco reveals that low-income patients on Medicaid are rarely screened for it. The findings support growing efforts to integrate mental health services and primary care to improve diagnosis and treatment of medical issues associated with mental illness, the researchers said.

Individuals with severe mental illness (SMI) are two to three times more likely to have type 2 diabetes than the general population. Many factors contribute to the increased risk, and treatment with antipsychotic medication raises the risk even further. The American Diabetes Association and American Psychiatric Association both recommend that providers do annual diabetes screening for any patients taking antipsychotic medications, but until now it has been unclear how often screenings actually occur.

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