Female bipolar patients may die a decade earlier than others

Females with bipolar disorder may die about a decade earlier than those without the condition, according to new research from Stanford University.

The study found that multiple causes contributed to early death rates in this population, including diabetes, cardiovascular disease, COPD, injuries, cancer and suicide.

Males with biopolar disorder were also found to die an average of eight years earlier than men in the general population.

Risk of death doubled from other diseases

The study, which included data on 6.5 million adults from Sweden, found that the risk of death from any cause was twice as high for women with bipolar disorder. Suicide also posed a significantly higher risk for this population - bipolar women were ten times more likely to commit suicide, while men with the disorder were 8 times more likely to take their own lives.

The study reports that bipolar patients are also more likely to die from heart disease, which is already the leading cause of death in the U.S.

Rates of death from any cause, which are at about 14 deaths per 1,000 people in the general population every year, were doubled among bipolar patients.

Awareness is key

Bipolar patients who were aware of their physical illnesses or diseases had death rates that were similar to people who were not bipolar, the researchers noted, which suggests that timely diagnoses and treatment of these conditions could help lower death rates in this already vulnerable population.

Causes for early death rates among bipolar individuals may vary, but medications used to treat the illness that may cause metabolic syndrome could account for part of the problem, researchers said. Additionally, these patients may be less likely to seek medical care.

“Whatever we’re doing, these people are not dying (just) because of suicide. That’s not the reason for increased mortality. That’s a hard thing to get across,” Dr. David Kupfer, a professor of psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, told Psych Central.

The study is published in JAMA Psychiatry.

Source: Psych Central

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