Diabetes and Serious Mental Illness in South Asians

South Asians comprise the largest ethnic minority group in the UK, with a significant South Asian community in Bradford, which has been described as having a ‘bi-ethnic population’. South Asians who live in the UK are up to six times more likely to have diabetes; to develop it 5 to 10 years earlier; and to have poorer health outcomes, even for the same indices for Body Mass Index and blood sugar control. People with a SMI also have a higher prevalence of diabetes (twice that of the general population); and poorer outcomes, for reasons that include lifestyle choices influenced by the illness and the metabolic and sedating side effects of psychotropic medication. The combination of South Asian origin, diabetes and SMI identifies a group highly vulnerable to diabetes-associated morbidity and mortality. 

The objectives of this research will be to determine the impact of comorbid diabetes and SMI in South Asians on health outcomes and healthcare use, using a range of approaches including routinely collected data from health databases. In addition to understanding outcomes for this population, a further output from the work will be the design of a method that could be used to explore the impact of other mental and physical co-morbidities in minority populations.