Cardiovascular, Respiratory Disease Among Top Causes of Death in Adults With Schizophrenia

The following article supports what I have always thought about my severely mentally ill patients–those with schizophrenia.  Due to the nature of their illness, this particular population of the mentally ill receive very little in the way of physical health care.  Sometimes that is due to the paranoia associated with the disease, but most of the time it is due to the bias of the healthcare profession.

When a patient reports to the ER and is clearly a “psych” patient, they are given a bed and watched until they can be transferred to a psych facility.  They do not usually even receive the most basic health care while in the ER.

Once a patient is transferred to a psychiatric facility, it may take days before they have the chance to have their physical health needs addressed.  Even then, the options for treatment are minimal as psychiatric hospitals are usually not equipped with the necessary items to deal with physical issues.  In most psychiatric facilities, the beds are bolted to the floor and do not raise or lower.  There is no oxygen in the walls, and IV treatment requires too high a security to allow.

Please read this article at the source and let them know what you think.  You can leave me a comment here also if you so choose.  I’d love to have a conversation about this issue.


Cardiovascular, Respiratory Disease Among Top Causes of Death in Adults With Schizophrenia

A recent study published in JAMA Psychiatry reports that adults with schizophrenia die at 3.5 times the rate of the general U.S. population. While this increased risk of mortality was distributed across multiple diseases, it was particularly elevated for cardiovascular disease, diabetes mellitus, and suicide.

“The findings… highlight the need to focus on interventions that target lifestyle risk factors such as smoking and poor diet, treat medical risk factors such as hypertension and hypercholesterolemia, and assertively manage physical comorbidities such as diabetes mellitus and cardiovascular disease,” wrote John McGrath, M.D., Ph.D., of the Queensland Centre for Mental Health Research and colleagues in a related editorial.

For the study, researchers from Columbia University and Rutgers University examined data from more than 1 million Medicaid patients aged 20 to 64 with schizophrenia collected from 2001 to 2007; this included 74,003 deaths, of which 65,553 had a known cause.

Among the 65,553 deaths over the study period, 55,741 were from natural causes, with cardiovascular disease having the highest mortality rate (403.2 per 100,000 person-years), accounting for almost one-third of all natural deaths. Cancer had the second highest mortality rate (200.5 per 100,000 person-years), with lung cancer being the most prevalent cause of death (read more here)

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