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Mental Illness Tied to Higher Rates of Physical Problems: Report

FRIDAY, April 13 (HealthDay News) -- Adults with mental illness are more likely to have certain types of chronic physical health problems than those without mental illness, according to a U.S. government report released this week.

The report said adults aged 18 and older who had any type of mental illness in the past year had higher rates of high blood pressure, asthma, diabetes, heart disease and stroke.

For instance, about 22 percent of adults with any type of mental illness in the past year had high blood pressure and nearly 16 percent had asthma. The rates in adults without mental illness were about 18 percent and 11 percent, respectively, the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) report said.

People with major depression in the past year had higher rates of the following chronic health problems than those without major depression: high blood pressure (24 percent vs. 20 percent); asthma (17 percent vs. 11 percent); diabetes (9 percent vs. 7 percent); heart disease (7 percent vs. 5 percent); and stroke (3 percent vs. 1 percent).

People with mental illness had higher rates of emergency-department use and hospitalization, according to the report. Rates of emergency department use were nearly 48 percent for people with a serious mental illness in the past year and 31 percent for those without a serious mental illness.

Hospitalization rates were more than 20 percent for those with a serious mental illness in the past year and less than 12 percent for those without a serious mental illness.

"Behavioral health is essential to health. This is a key SAMHSA message and is underscored by this data," SAMHSA administrator Pamela Hyde said in an agency news release.

"Promoting health and wellness for individuals, families and communities means treating behavioral health needs with the same commitment and vigor as any other physical health condition," Hyde said. "Communities, families and individuals cannot achieve health without addressing behavioral health."

More information

The National Alliance on Mental Illness has more about mental illness.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCE: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, news release, April 10, 2012

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