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People with Severe Mental Illness More Likely to Develop Cardiovascular Disease

May 16, 2017 06:00 AM EDT

A new study led by King's College London revealed that people diagnosed with severe mental illness were over 50 percent more likely to develop cardiovascular diseases, compared to the general population.

The study, published in the journal World Psychiatry, found a link between served mental illness, including bipolar disorder, major depression and schizophrenia, and increased risk of cardiovascular diseases.

"We found that the prevalence of cardiovascular disease in people with severe mental illness (SMI) was higher in more recent studies, which suggests that our efforts so far have been unsuccessful in reducing the health gap between people with SMI and the general population," said Dr Brendon Stubbs from the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience (IoPPN) at King's College London, in a press release.

For the study, the researchers examined 92 studies across four continents and 16 different countries, including the US, UK, France, Australia and Sweden. It is considered to be the largest ever meta-analysis of severe mental illness and cardiovascular disease, which include over 3.2 million patients with SMI and more than 113 million people from the general population.

The researchers observed that people with serve mental illness have a 53 percent higher risk of developing cardiovascular diseases, including heart disease, heart attack and stroke. Over the longer term, people with SMI were 78 percent more likely to develop cardiovascular diseases than the general public. There is also a 85 percent increased risk of dying from cardiovascular disease in people diagnosed with SMI.

Out of the SMI patients included in the study, 10 percent have cardiovascular disease. Among those, people with schizophrenia were 11.8 percent more likely to have cardiovascular disease, while depression and bipolar disorder have 11.7 percent and 8.4 percent increased likelihood of cardiovascular disease, respectively.

It has been known that people with SMI die 10 to 15 years earlier than the general population. However, the researchers noted that some of these deaths can be easily preventable through lifestyle changes, such as better diet, regular exercise and smoking cessation.

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