Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

Risk of Premature Death Higher with Serious Mental Illness

Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

Risk of Premature Death Higher with Serious Mental Illness

Article excerpt

SAN DIEGO -- Heart disease and suicide were the leading causes of death in a large study of patients with mental illness in Ohio.

Moreover, these patients died at a mean age of 48 years, which represented 32 years of potential life lost, Dr. Brian J. Miller reported during a poster session at the American Psychiatric Association's Institute on Psychiatric Services.

"That is a strikingly high figure," said Dr. Miller, a psychiatry resident at the Medical College of Georgia, Augusta. The findings underscore the importance of integrating the delivery of health care services to patients with serious mental illness and targeting interventions that improve their quality of life, such as monitoring blood glucose levels, taking waist circumference measurements, and looking for metabolic syndrome.

The study results "confirm findings of previous reports that patients with serious mental illness are at increased risk of death," said Dr. Miller, who conducted the research while a medical student at Ohio State University in Columbus. "The cited literature suggests a 1.6- to 2.8-fold increased risk of premature death. We found a 3.2-fold increased risk of premature death."

He and his associates analyzed Ohio Department of Mental Health records for 20,018 patients discharged from an Ohio public psychiatric hospital between 1998 and 2002, and matched them against Ohio Department of Health records for the same time period. They identified 608 deaths and calculated leading causes of death, medical comorbidities, age-adjusted mortality, years of potential life lost, and standardized mortality ratios. …

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