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Why people with mental illness can face poorer physical health and early death



"The differences in physical health outcomes for people with mental illness are currently considered as a human rights scandal," said Joseph Firth, a researcher at the University of Manchester and chairman of the Lancet Psychiatry Commission, who published the research.

His team analyzed nearly 100 studies and found that most people with mental illness do not die prematurely due to suicide – even though they account for about 17% of unnatural deaths – but due to "poor physical health" which is largely can be prevented.

People with mental illnesses are facing twice the risk of cardiometabolic diseases such as diabetes and stroke, researchers said. For example, in people with depression, the risk of heart disease, diabetes or obesity is about 40% higher than in the general population.

Mental illness can increase the risk of physical illness and physical illness increases the risk of mental illness, Firth said. "Obesity or diabetes increases your risk of developing a psychiatric condition and vice versa."

Sometimes it is because treatments for mental illness can trigger or exacerbate physical health problems. For example, the report found that many drugs used to treat mental disorders ̵

1; including antidepressants, antipsychotics and mood stabilizers – may have adverse effects on metabolism and heart health.

"As a result, patients who are important have reduced adhesion to treatment, which can lead to relapses and poor mental health effects, the report says. The drugs still make" better than harm ", but Firth added that doctors must monitor and managing any negative effects.

People with mental illness get poorer care

Almost all mental illnesses are also associated with certain lifestyle risk factors – behaviors that make diseases such as heart disease more likely – and "people with mental illness tend to have more unhealthy lifestyles compared to the general population, "the report noted.

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But even after checking for risk factors such as smoking, physical activity and body mass index, the report showed that death was higher in those with mental illness. It indicates that people with mental illness get poorer care than those who do not have psychiatric problems, researchers say.

For example, the report found that people with severe mental illness are less likely to have a physical examination than their peers. They also have more emergency departments and hospital admissions for conditions that should be avoided, can be prevented with appropriate primary care.

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It is unclear why exactly it is, but one possible explanation is that doctors mistakenly assign physical symptoms to underlying psychiatric problem, which leads to missed diagnoses, researchers say.

The report also found that people with mental illness are less likely to receive medical and surgical procedures offered to the public. And healthcare services can be intolerant to people with mental illness, or at least perceived as such, the report says.

Health body, healthy mind

"More is needed to handle stigmatizing attitudes toward mental health, and education and exercise of healthcare providers need to be reoriented to integrate physical and mental health and medical care," wrote Rakhi Dandona, a clinical professor of health science subjects at the University of Washington in an accompanying editorial. 19659002] "In some areas it is obvious that mental illness has been lacking due to stigmatization and discrimination of these populations, because people do not really look after them," said Firth, who worked with over 40 other experts to compile it latest report.

"You can look at the amount of funding, for example, spent on mental health and mental research compared to all health aspects, and you can see that there are big differences there," he added.

But health care systems are working to offer better care, says Firth. "More and more world health organizations and national health organizations are doing their best to try to address these health issues," he said, both to help patients and lower costs.

"We need to start dealing with the mind and body together," Firth says. "It sounds like a very old age that says" healthy body, healthy mind ". But look at the data, it's so well-managed that it's almost impossible to imagine an effective treatment system where we keep these two things separate."


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