People with Bipolar Disorder More Likely to Die Prematurely

Mar 03, 2009
People diagnosed with bipolar disorder face the higher risk of mortality from a wide range of diseases, a new study says.

Dr. Wayne Katon, the leading author of the study the University of Washington, said that mortality rate was up to 200 percent higher for patients with bipolar disorder. Reviewing the cause of death from 17 studies that involved more than 330,000 people with bipolar disorder and other psychiatric disorders, the scientists concluded that patients with bipolar disorder had the increased risk of premature death almost from every general medical condition. These conditions include cardiovascular diseases, respiratory diseases, diabetes, strokes and others.

Patients with bipolar disorder have a number of inflammation markers that may lead to heart attack and stroke. Also such factors as chronic stress affecting people with bipolar disorder increases the risk of metabolic syndrome, atherosclerosis and insulin resistance, resulting in premature death from cardiovascular disease.

Other things that contribute to the risk of premature mortality are adverse effects of medications prescribed for treatment bipolar disorder, poor health care and unhealthy lifestyle.

Bipolar disorder is a severe mental illness that is characterized by extreme mood swings from mania to depression. The illness affects about 10 million people in US and is considered a life-long condition. Bipolar disorder usually develops in late youth or early adulthood, but may also appear during childhood. The illness is treatable but many people may suffer for years before recognizing bipolar disorder.

The study was published in the February issue of Psychiatric Services.