Series Introduction and Cardiovascular Disease in Patients With Schizophrenia




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Persons with schizophrenia and other mental illness experience a markedly shorter life expectancy than the general population. Although this difference has often been attributed to suicide, cardiovascular disease is in fact the leading cause of death for patients with mental illness. Cardiovascular disease, which is also the leading cause of death for the general population in the United States, is projected to become the worldwide leading cause of death by 2020. Risk factors for cardiovascular disease include obesity, high blood cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, and cigarette smoking. Patients with schizophrenia experience high rates of cardiovascular disease in part because they have higher rates of obesity, dyslipidemia, diabetes, and smoking. In addition to treating the psychiatric conditions of patients, clinicians should particularly monitor their patients for cardiovascular risk.

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J Clin Psychiatry 2007;68(5):e12