A study of 313,586 Veterans Administration patients with diabetes and mental health problems found that this population is less likely to receive optimal diabetes care. Of the participants, 25% had some type of mental illness. The researchers found that patients with mental illness were 24% more apt to not have had hemoglobin A1C testing, 24% more prone not to have had their low-density cholesterol tested, and 5% more likely not to have undergone an eye exam. Poor control of blood sugar levels was also detected in 32% of the patients.
The number of mental health conditions per patient was a factor in the quality of care. For example, 24% of the patients without mental health conditions had poor blood sugar control, compared with 28% of patients with 1 condition, 31% for patients with 3 conditions, and 41% for patients with 6 diagnosed mental health conditions.