December 19, 2006

Chronic Health Problems Plague Many With Schizophrenia

More than 46 common chronic health conditions, including cardiovascular, pulmonary, neurological, and endocrine diseases, appear at a much higher rate in people with schizophrenia than in the population of people without mental illness. In fact, when looking at a rather young age group of people with schizophrenia (average age of 40), one third already suffered from non-psychiatric disorders requiring medical care.

These results from a large study funded by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), released from Indiana University (IU), emphasized the need for greater awareness of the high levels of co-occuring physical illnesses in people with schizophrenia as well as the need for integration between patients' physical medical care and their psychiatric medical care.

In an earlier study, the primary author, Dr. Carney Doebbeling, examined inpatient and outpatient insurance claims data for more than 700,000 adults between the ages of 18 and 64, and found that women with schizophrenia were less likely to undergo mammogram screening for breast cancer.

Suffering from these varied chronic medical conditions as well as schizophrenia not only impacts quality of life, but also interferes with patients receiving both appropriate medical as well as psychiatric care.

Says Dr. Carney Doebbeling,

"This work highlights the need for integrated medical and psychiatric care, and the long-term deleterious effects on physical health of living with chronic mental illness.

Both physical and mental health practitioners should have a heightened awareness of the significant medical morbidity faced by persons with chronic mental illness."

Read the original article: High Risk of Chronic Health Conditions Plagues People with Schizophrenia
Read the related study from Indiana University: Women with Mental Disorders Less Likely to Have Mammograms: Nature of Mental Illness Does Play a Role

Read more about schizophrenia and medical health conditions and care:
Psychiatric Wellness Program
Schizophrenia linked to Auto-immune Diseases
New Canadian Treatment Guidelines for Schizophrenia


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