A london based study which tracked electronic medical records of over 30,000 patients found that many people were dying early from stroke, heart attack and cancer as opposed to suicide or violence.
Experts looking into the life expectancy of patients who were suffering from specific mental illnesses such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder or serious depression, found that life expectancy across the illnesses was below the UK average.
Currently the average life expectancy of UK men is 77.4 years and for women a slightly higher 81.6 years. However, those in the study who were most affected, such as women with schizoaffective disorder saw their life expectancy fall by 17.5 years. Similarly, the males who were most affected (schizophrenia sufferers) had their lives shorted by around 14.6 years.
Researchers on the study, which took place at the Biomedical Research Centre for mental health at the Maudsley Hospital in London, believe the reduced life expectancy could be attributed to factors such as long-term anti-psychotic drug use and social disadvantages.
Spokeswomen for the mental health charity Mind, Sophie Corelett, commented that doctors need to be more proactive in helping their patients to make informed choices about long-term medications which could eventually have a negative impact on their health.
“It’s vital that people with mental health problems have access to routine physical health checks and that they are helped to make healthy lifestyle choices. We cannot allow this inequality to continue.” She added.
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