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Schizophrenics at greater risk of other health problems

12th December 2006

Individuals with schizophrenia are more likely to have chronic health conditions, a new paper has concluded.

The research, published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine, found that both men and women with schizophrenia have an increased likelihood of also having one or more of 46 common chronic health conditions.

Data from more than 700,000 adults aged between 18 and 64 were used in the research, which looked at the prevalence of conditions such as cardiovascular, neurological, pulmonary and endocrine diseases.

"This work is yet another piece in the larger puzzle of understanding the relationships between mental and physical health," said Dr Caroline Carney Doebbeling, the study's lead author.

"This work highlights the need for integrated medical and psychiatric care, and the long-term deleterious effects on physical health of living with chronic mental illness," she added.

"Both physical and mental health practitioners should have a heightened awareness of the significant medical morbidity faced by persons with chronic mental illness."

Schizophrenia patients who have additional medical problems face worsened implications for their quality of life and the delivery of services, the report also concluded.