Mental diseases linked to higher death risks in heart disease and diabetes

In a new study from the University of Oxford, researchers found among patients with chronic, non-communicable diseases, the risk of death is more than doubled if they also have psychiatric comorbidity.

Psychiatric comorbidity is defined as the co-existence of two or more psychiatric disorders.

Diabetes and heart disease are global public health challenges accounting for an estimated 40 million excess deaths annually.

In the study, researchers used national registers in Sweden to check more than 1 million patients born between 1932 and 1995 who had diagnoses of chronic lung disease, heart disease, and diabetes.

They found more than a quarter (25-32%) of people in the analysis had a co-occurring lifetime diagnosis of any psychiatric disorder.

Within 5 years of diagnosis, 7% of the people included in the study had died from any cause and 0.3% had died from suicide.

Comorbid psychiatric disorders were linked to higher all-cause mortality when compared to those without such conditions.

When the researchers compared each patient with an unaffected sibling, they found psychiatric comorbidity remained consistently associated with elevated rates of premature mortality and suicide.

Risks ranged by psychiatric diagnosis; for instance, mortality risks were elevated by 8.3-9.9 times in those with comorbid substance use disorder compared to unaffected siblings, and by 5.3-7.4 times in those with comorbid depression.

The team says improving assessment, treatment, and follow-up of people with psychiatric disorders may reduce the risk of mortality in people with diabetes and heart disease.

If you care about heart health, please read studies about a common cause of heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, and two high blood pressure drugs that could prevent heart disease.

For more information about diabetes, please see recent studies that drinking coffee this way can help prevent stroke, heart disease, and results showing that fitness didn’t keep him from heart problems or COVID-19, but it did help him recover.

The study is published in PLOS Medicine, and was conducted by Seena Fazel et al.

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