Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

Heart Risks Cause More Lost Years

Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

Heart Risks Cause More Lost Years

Article excerpt

Chicago--Cardiovascular death dwarfs suicide as a cause of total years of potential life lost among patients with major mental illness, according to a five-state study.

Critics of the recent push within psychiatry to emphasize the monitoring of cardiometabolic risk, particularly in patients on antipsychotic drugs, have argued that it's more important for psychiatrists to maintain their traditional focus on suicide prevention. The argument goes that even though suicide is less common than cardiovascular disease, it tends to occur at a younger age and therefore accounts for a disproportionate burden in terms of lost potential. Not so, Dr. John W Newcomer said at the American Psychiatric Association's Institute on Psychiatric Services.

"Patients with major mental illness are losing 25 years of life compared to the general population. And the largest percentage of those deaths comes from coronary heart disease. Psychiatric patients have an increased prevalence of cardiovascular risk factors, reduced access to appropriate medical treatment, and decreased adherence to proven interventions," said Dr. Newcomer, professor of psychiatry, psychology, and medicine and medical director of the center for clinical studies at Washington University in St. …

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