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Mental Illness Increases Heart Disease, Stroke Mortality

Risk nearly triples in young patients with severe mental illness

TUESDAY, Feb. 6 (HealthDay News) -- Patients with severe mental illness are more likely to die from coronary heart disease and stroke than those without mental illness, researchers report in the February issue of the Archives of General Psychiatry.

David Osborn, Ph.D., of the Royal Free and University College Medical School in London, U.K., and colleagues analyzed the death rates from heart disease, stroke and seven common types of cancer in 46,136 individuals with severe mental illness, including schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, bipolar disorder and delusional disorder, as well as 300,426 control subjects.

During a follow-up of at least six months, those with mental illness were more likely to die from coronary heart disease or stroke, but not cancer, than those without mental illness. The association was strongest in younger patients, aged 18 to 49, where mental illness increased the risk of cardiovascular-related death by more than threefold.

"Clinically, a holistic approach to the care of people with severe mental illness is still frequently overlooked," the authors write. "Such an approach requires monitoring for somatic conditions and demands effective communication between primary and secondary care to provide coherent physical health care."

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