Monday, October 5, 2009

Statement emphasizes link between severe mental illness, CVD, diabetes

European organizations are calling for improved care and screening for CVD, diabetes in those with mental illnesses.

People with severe mental illnesses, such as schizophrenia, depression and bipolar disorder, die about 10 to 20 years prematurely compared with the general population, and the most common cause of death is cardiovascular disease, experts said at a press conference on Wednesday.

A joint statement issued by the European Association for the Study of Diabetes, European Society of Cardiology and European Psychiatric Association emphasizes the link between mental illness and CVD, with the goal of increasing awareness, improving care and initiating cooperation and screening.

“In addition to having the devastating effects of severe mental illness, people with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder die prematurely,” Richard Holt, MD, PhD, from the University of Southampton, United Kingdom, said during a press conference.

People with mental illness find it much harder to access physical health services, Holt noted. “Rates of screening for both diabetes and CVD are significantly less than in the general population,” he said. “While maybe 20% of cases of diabetes are unknown in the general population, among people with mental illness, as many as 70% are undiagnosed.”


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