Mental Illness linked to other Health Problems.

Should be read in conjunction with the Harvard study of co-morbid diseases and autism found here …

“Adults who had any type of mental illness in the past year were also more likely to have high blood pressure, asthma, diabetes, heart disease and stroke, according to a U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) report released last week.

Specifically, about 22 percent of adults with any type of mental illness in the past year had high blood pressure and almost 16 percent had asthma, compared to 18 percent and 11 percent, respectively, in adults without mental illness.

People with major depression in the past year had higher rates of the following chronic health problems than those without the disorder:

  • High blood pressure (24 percent vs. 20 percent)
  • Asthma (17 percent vs. 11 percent)
  • Diabetes (9 percent vs. 7 percent)
  • Heart disease (7 percent vs. 5 percent)
  • Stroke (3 percent vs. 1 percent).”

Harvard study showed the following disturbing figures.

“19.44% of ASD patients had epilepsy as compared to 2.19% in the overall hospital population (95% confidence interval for difference in percentages 13.58-14.69%), 2.43% of ASD with schizophrenia vs. 0.24% in the hospital population (95% CI 1.89-2.39%), inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) 0.83% vs. 0.54% (95% CI 0.13-0.43%), bowel disorders (without IBD) 11.74% vs. 4.5% (95% CI 5.72-6.68%), CNS/cranial anomalies 12.45% vs. 1.19% (95% CI 9.41-10.38%), diabetes mellitus type I (DM1) 0.79% vs. 0.34% (95% CI 0.3-0.6%), muscular dystrophy 0.47% vs 0.05% (95% CI 0.26-0.49%), sleep disorders 1.12% vs. 0.14% (95% CI 0.79-1.14%).”

Particularly the development of disease moving into adulthood

“Three of the studied comorbidities increased significantly when comparing ages 0-17 vs 18-34 with p<0.001: Schizophrenia (1.43% vs. 8.76%), diabetes mellitus type I (0.67% vs. 2.08%), IBD (0.68% vs. 1.99%)”’

The long term outcomes for both mental health patients and children with autism will need to addressed in the near future as a large percentage grows into adulthood. Far sighted politicians need to make sure that funding for research is increased inline with the economic and social burden that these types of research point to.

The focus for many of these disorders still remains to my mind the immune system and it remains the most probable area for true amelioration of disease through evidence based treatments that may well be holistic in nature. ie inclusive of lifestyle , diet, behavioural and psychological therapies and medications.

It may well be that there is a further development of Early Intervention strategies that encompass all of the above into one coherent framework thus giving the best chance for real change.

This entry was posted in Asthma, Autism, co-morbid, General, Treatment. Bookmark the permalink.

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