Serious mental illness cause high risk heart disorders
The researchers believed this is the first study to examine estimated 30-year (lifetime) cardiovascular risk in a large sample of adult outpatients diagnosed with bipolar disorder, schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorders.
Highlights Adults diagnosed with bipolar disorder, schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder may have a higher risk of cardiovascular disease. According to the National Health Mission, 7 per cent of the population suffers from mental disorders. The World Health Organization also notes that one in four families is likely to have at least one member with a behavioural or mental disorder. A study published in the journal of the American Heart Association reported that those diagnosed with bipolar disorder, schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder might have a higher risk of cardiovascular disease at younger ages compared to adults not diagnosed with one of those serious mental illnesses.
Dr Shuchin Bajaj, founder-director, Ujala Cygnus Group of Hospitals, New Delhi told News9 that people with mental illness often adopt behaviours that increase the risk of heart diseases that includes a poor diet, smoking, drinking alcohol and lack of exercise. “When it comes to smoking, around 40-90 per cent of Indians with a mental health disorder smoke tobacco, compared with 20 per cent of the general population. Psychiatric medications account for a lot of the elevated cardiovascular risk among patients with mental illness. The drugs can trigger weight gain, as well as interfere with the body’s breakdown of fats and sugars. This may lead to obesity, diabetes and high cholesterol,” he said One is told that individuals with mental health disorders often have problems talking about their illness, or the symptoms of their illness may stop them from seeking care. “A separation between primary and mental health services can also challenge these patients’ care. We need improved integration and collaboration,” Dr Bajaj said. The stigma that remains attached to mental health disorders may even affect the care given by health professionals. Patients with these disorders are less likely to receive treatments that reduce the risk of adverse cardiovascular outcomes or undergo coronary procedures like bypass surgery.
When it comes to prevention, Dr Bajaj said that the strategies are the same for people with mental health issues. “This means eating a healthy diet, being physically active, no smoking, managing stress and limiting alcohol consumption. Making positive health behaviour changes is important to our physical and in turn mental health,” he added. The researchers believed this is the first study to examine an estimated 30-year (lifetime) cardiovascular risk in a large sample of adult outpatients diagnosed with bipolar disorder, schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder — three serious mental illnesses specific to this study.
Many previous studies of cardiovascular risk for people with serious mental illness have included only people who were hospitalised, and they tend to have more severe mental illness and frailer health than outpatients. Meanwhile, according to the National Health Mission, seven per cent of the population suffers from mental disorders. The World Health Organization also notes that one in four families is likely to have at least one member with a behavioural or mental disorder. The World Economic Forum estimates that for low- and middle-income countries like India, the total economic cost of mental illnesses will exceed 2 trillion dollars by 2030.