Severe Mental Illnesses Increase Risk of Cardiovascular Diseases, Claims New Study

People suffering from severe mental illnesses such as Schizophrenia and Bipolar disorder are at an increased risk of cardiovascular disease at a younger age, says a study conducted by scientists in the US.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), nearly 24 million people suffer from Schizophrenia across the globe, and they are 2-3 times more likely to die at a younger age as compared to the general population.

The new study was conducted on about 6 lakh people and was published in the Journal of American Heart Association.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health in the US bipolar disorder is a mental illness in which an individual witnesses a sudden shift in mood, energy, activity, attention and daily activities.

An individual suffering from Schizophrenia, on the other hand, experiences persistent hallucinations causing distress to himself as well as to his loved ones. Schizophrenia is a severe case of Schizoaffective disorder.

As per Dr Rebecca C. Rossom, who led this study and is also the chief researcher at Health Partners Institute in Minneapolis, people suffering from severe mental illnesses die 10-20 years earlier compared to others.

The doctor stated that heart disease is the primary reason for their deaths and this is why the study was focused on the contribution of blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar, and body mass index towards cardiovascular risk factors in these mental patients.

The age of 6 lakh people included in the study ranged between 18-75 years and about 2 percent of them were suffering from serious mental illness. About 70 percent of the individuals were suffering from Bipolar disorder, 18 percent from Schizoaffective disorder, and 12 percent from Schizophrenia.

According to the results of the study, the risk of cardiovascular disease was 9.5 percent in individuals with any severe mental illness over the 10-year review period as compared to 8 percent in the general masses.

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