By On July 29th, 2013

Early Intervention May Help Lower Morbidity Rates for Bipolar Patients

According to recent research reported by Medwire News, the increased mortality risk associated with bipolar disorder may be related to delayed diagnosis and treatment of comorbidities. The Swedish national cohort study showed that men and women with bipolar disorder died an average of nine years earlier than members of the general population. The risk for suicide is heightened for patients with bipolar disorder, but this does not fully account for the earlier deaths among bipolar patients. After excluding deaths from suicide and unintentional injuries, the study still found that women and men with the condition died a respective 7.5 and 6.6 years earlier than their healthy counterparts.

Excluding suicide and unintentional injuries, diabetes and influenza or pneumonia were the conditions most associated with increased early mortality. In addition, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), diabetes, and pneumonia were more frequently diagnosed in bipolar patients than the general population.

When dealing with chronic conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, COPD, and cancer, bipolar patients who had been diagnosed within 30 days before death were one and a half times more likely to die from the condition than the general population. Compared to the 2.38-fold increase among those without prior diagnosis, those with the diagnosis are considerably less at risk for heightened morbidity rates.

This led lead researcher Casey Crump from Stanford University and colleagues to suggest that “timely medical diagnosis and treatment may effectively reduce mortality among bipolar disorder patients to approach that of the general population.”

They continued, “More complete provision of primary, preventive medical care among bipolar disorder patients is needed to reduce early mortality in this vulnerable population.”

The study was published in JAMA Psychiatry.

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