Cardiovascular disease in patients with severe mental illnes
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Individuals diagnosed with schizophrenia or bipolar disorder have a life expectancy 15–20 years shorter than that in the general population. The rate of unnatural deaths, such as suicide and accidents, is high for these patients. Despite this increased proportion of unnatural deaths, physical conditions account for approximately 70% of deaths in patients with either schizophrenia or bipolar disorder, with cardiovascular disease contributing 17.4% and 22.0% to the reduction in overall life expectancy in men and women, respectively.

Risk factors for cardiovascular disease, such as smoking, unhealthy diet and lack of exercise, are common in these patients, and lifestyle interventions have been shown to have small effects. Pharmacological interventions to reduce risk factors for cardiovascular disease have been proven to be effective.

Treatment with antipsychotic drugs is associated with reduced mortality but also with an increased risk of weight gain, dyslipidaemia and diabetes mellitus. These patients have higher risks of both myocardial infarction and stroke but a lower risk of undergoing interventional procedures compared with the general population.

Data indicate a negative attitude from clinicians working outside the mental health fields towards patients with severe mental illness. Education might be a possible method to decrease the negative attitudes towards these patients, thereby improving their rates of diagnosis and treatment.

Source: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41569-020-00463-7
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