People with major mental disorders have life expectancies 25-30 years shorter than those of the general population. The culprits that rob them of this time do not appear to be the mental disorders themselves, but rather premature coronary heart disease, diabetes, and cerebrovascular disease. Antipsychotic medicines can add to the problem by contributing to weight gain and associated metabolic disorders, and physicians could do a better job of monitoring patients to manage these risks.
"It is not mysterious why patients with major mental disorders are dying sooner and more often of cardiovascular disease," said John W. Newcomer, M.D., in a talk, "Antipsychotic Medications: Metabolic and Cardiovascular Risk," presented at ENDO 2010.1 Dr. Newcomer is the Gregory B. Couch Professor of Psychiatry, Psychology, and Medicine and the medical director of the Center for Clinical Studies at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Mo. "This population has a higher prevalence of all the key modifiable risk factors: higher rates of dyslipidemia, diabetes, hypertension, and metabolic syndrome, with less physical activity. Smoking is also highly prevalent in this population."
Read more: Metabolic Risks