Monday, February 16, 2009

Bipolar disorder increases risk of disease

Bipolar disorder, like smoking, increases the risk of early death from medical illnesses, a U.S. review found.

The review of 17 studies, published in Psychiatric Services, involving more than 331,000 patients suggested that people with bipolar disorder have a higher mortality from natural causes compared with people in the general population of similar age and gender but without mental illness.

"The review of data gathered from large population studies suggests that having bipolar disorder is similar to being a smoker in terms of increasing a person's risk of early death," Dr. Wayne Katon of the University of Washington in Seattle, co-author of the review, said in a statement.

People with bipolar disorder tend to have both manic phases that can include sleepless periods and depressed phases that can even leave them immobilized. There are many possible factors that may account for the higher risk of premature death.


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