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Mentally Ill Have High Risk Of Cardiovascular Death

ie from heart disease and 1.34 times as likely to die from stroke.

The rates did not change significantly after the researchers adjusted for smoking rates and social deprivation, both of which contribute to the risk for heart disease. The use of antipsychotic medication, however, did have an effect. "People with severe mental illness who were not prescribed any antipsychotics were at increased risk of coronary heart disease and stroke than controls, whereas those prescribed such agents were at even greater risk," the authors write. "Those receiving the higher doses were at greatest risk for death from both coronary heart disease and stroke."

"With the exception of respiratory tumors, people with severe mental illness were not at increased risk of dying from the seven most common cancers in the United Kingdom," they continue. "However, our data did not confirm other evidence that they were protected from cancers."

Additional research is needed to help prevent cardiovascular disease and death among those with severe mental illness, the authors conclude. "Clinically, a holistic approach to the care of people with severe mental illness is still frequently overlooked," they write. "Such an approach requires monitoring for somatic conditions and demands effective communication between primary and secondary care to provide coherent physical health care."

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