Thursday, March 23, 2017

Why Do People With Schizophrenia Die Prematurely?

That is the title of this article I reviewed today. "Schizophrenia affects approximately 1% of the US population. This serious psychiatric illness is characterized by psychotic symptoms (hallucinations and delusions), cognitive symptoms (difficulties with attention, memory, and decision making), and negative symptoms (withdrawn behavior, low speech output and content, and diminished motivation).
Although there is no cure for schizophrenia, treatment can decrease symptoms. Currently, these treatments include medications and psychosocial interventions. Many individuals with schizophrenia can work, live independently or with limited assistance, and enjoy life. Unfortunately, some individuals have symptoms that do not respond to treatment and interfere with their ability to lead independent lives and comply with treatment. Persons with schizophrenia have a greatly diminished life span. In general, people with this disorder die more than 25 years earlier than the general population. In other words, these individuals can only expect to live about 70% of the normal life span. Why do they die early?"That is a drag that a person cannot live out a full life.  I know I want to especially now that my great grandson was born.  I want to get to know him. When you have schizophrenia you have to worry about your health and take care like exercise.
The article goes on to say: "In a paper recently published in JAMA Psychiatry, Mark Olfson and colleagues set out to answer this question. They examined reasons for premature mortality in a group of over 1 million people with schizophrenia covered by Medicaid, the largest insurance provider for persons suffering from schizophrenia in the U.S. They identified causes of death for over 65,500 of the 74,000 people who died during the study period and found that individuals with schizophrenia had an increased rate of death across all ages and all demographic groups when compared to the general population. What were the causes of death in these individuals? Olfson and colleagues found that both natural causes and unnatural causes of death were increased by over three-fold. The most common causes of death were cardiovascular disease, cancer (particularly lung cancer), diabetes, influenza, accidental deaths, and suicides. The large majority of deaths (almost 55,750) resulted from natural causes. However, the rates of death from suicide and accidents were also substantially elevated"I do not know if my lung cancer was caused my schizophrenia or it runs in my family. I have to say that because my mom just had breast cancer so it probably runs in the family.  My aunt also died from lung cancer.  Suicide I guess I should put up articles about hope because you do not have to have a mental illness to commit suicide. My ex-wife did because she thought she could not go through life being alone all she needed was a day and the argument she had would have been forgotten.  I blame myself a lot because some one you once loved was unhappy.  How did I contribute to that. Everyone gets depressed once in awhile but there is so much to live such as grand kids.
The article ends: "Smoking is a significant risk factor for a number of diseases on this list. It has been known for a long time that a large majority of persons with schizophrenia smoke. In fact, the rate of smoking for individuals with schizophrenia is more than twice the rate observed in individuals without schizophrenia. Many are also very heavy smokers. This increased rate of smoking accounts for some of the increased death rate, but not all of it. Can something be done to decrease premature death in people with schizophrenia? Helping individuals stop smoking would greatly improve life expectancy. Premature deaths from cardiovascular disease can also be reduced by treating high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels. The effects of diabetes and cardiovascular disease can also be diminished by regular exercise, eating right, and, in those who are obese, weight loss. Health care professionals should routinely screen for suicidality, depression, and use of alcohol and other drugs of abuse, and recommend treatment when appropriate. Encouraging individuals to minimize their use of alcohol and marijuana may lead to a decrease in accidental deaths and deaths from suicide. Treatments for drug addiction can help a number of individuals avoid premature death.
Although implementing the above recommendations may be a challenge in persons with psychotic illnesses, such treatment programs can and do work in this population. Investing in educational and psychosocial resources will save lives. It is important that families and friends of people living with schizophrenia not give up and continuously encourage their loved ones to engage in programs that include smoking cessation, drug cessation, exercise, healthy eating, maintenance of healthy body weight, and control of high blood pressure and high cholesterol." It did not matter that I quit smoking nineteen years ago I still got lung cancer.  I was a heavy smoker though. I have high blood pressure but it is controlled my two medicines. Which personally I do not like taking all kinds of medication the cost and having to take all those medicines.

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