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Mental health patients 'more likely to be unhealthy'

Mental health patients 'more likely to be unhealthy'
21st March 2011

Schizophrenia and bipolar disorder patients, who may use assisted living, are more likely to have bad physical health than those without a psychological disorder, research has shown.

Two-thirds of patients with severe mental illnesses were found to be overweight or obese, in the study published in journal BMC Psychiatry.

In addition, participants who had these conditions were more likely to have diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and increased cholesterol.

The study also revealed that life expectancy for people with severe mental illness is reduced by up to 25 years, which is in part due to cardiovascular disorders resulting from ill health.

Professor Richard Gray from the University of East Anglia said: "Mental health nurses do a tough job and are compassionate and highly committed. But they do not tend to be skilled at managing the physical health of their patients and they often don't lead entirely healthy lifestyles themselves."

Meanwhile, scientists from the University of California Los Angeles found that adding tai chi to standard depression therapy reduced the levels of depression in a group of older people with the condition.

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