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Mental health affects heart care

People with mental health problems are more at risk of dying from coronary events, a new study has shown.

Researchers from the University of Leicester and Curtin Health Innovation Research Institute in Australia combined the findings of 22 studies, involving more than 800,000 people, and found that those with mental illness are 14% less likely to receive treatments such as revascularisation, angioplasty or a bypass.

Patients with mental disorders were 11% more likely to die from events such as a heart attack. People with schizophrenia were 47% less likely to receive procedures for coronary events and conditions.

The research team's finding were published in the British Journal of Psychiatry.

They said: "One possible explanation is that physicians do not offer procedures to those with mental illness because these individuals have poorer uptake of care.

"Another possibility is that the needs of those with mental illness are crowded out by the focus on mental concerns or other medical factors which may lead physicians to think that procedures are not a priority in this group.

"There is also a question whether people with severe mental illness follow through with advice they are given."

Natasha Stewart, senior cardiac nurse at the British Heart Foundation, said: "This research reinforces the impact poor mental health can have on the risk of dying from heart disease.

"It highlights the need for healthcare professionals to provide a holistic approach to care and to recognise that the state of someone's mental health can impact on their decision-making about potential treatments."

British Journal of Psychiatry

Your comments (terms and conditions apply):

"I do agree with these findings and there are other factors that
contributed to risk of developing or dying from cardiovascular diseases for mental health patients. One of those factors could be unhealthy lifestyle due to mental illness, substance misuse, social stigma, poverty all of these can have a detrimental impact on physical health. Unless this is tackled both by service users and service provider, this will continue to
be a major problem for all" - Janet Amunikoro, London

"These research results do not surprise me. Many medications such as the newer antipsychotic drugs are implicated in contributing to an increase in cardiovascular problems" - Sally Osborne, Gloucestershire