Mental Illness and Cardiovascular Risks

Mental Illness and Cardiovascular Risks

With mental illness becoming more common than ever in the United States, healthcare providers are often forced to develop treatment plans that help patients manage their illnesses while still being able to maintain high levels of functioning and safety in their daily lives. This can be especially difficult when the patient has severe mental illness (SMI), which increases their risk of many other health issues, including cardiovascular disease. A new study has shown that using clinical decision support systems that prompt doctors to provide individualized informational handouts about cardiovascular risks can significantly lower these risks in patients with SMI.


The facts

In a new study, researchers demonstrated that they can significantly lower cardiovascular risk for patients with severe mental illness (SMI) by using a clinical decision support system that prompts doctors to provide individualized informational handouts about a patient’s cardiovascular risks. The fact sheet also included reminders on how to monitor blood pressure and cholesterol in patients. According to an American Heart Association report, SMI increases the risk for heart disease by two-to-three fold compared to individuals without psychiatric disorders or substance abuse issues. Typically, those with SMI experience at least one additional risk factor including tobacco use; uncontrolled high blood pressure; high cholesterol levels; physical inactivity; type 2 diabetes mellitus; being overweight/obese; obstructive sleep apnea (OSA); and depression.

Mental Illness and Cardiovascular Risks

10 Steps to Treating Heart Disease in People With Serious Mental Illness

All of our Healthcare Guides are a good place to start. There is also a wealth of information at Harvard Medical School’s guide on how to help patients manage their healthcare information. Additionally, The Joint Commission offers guidelines on how best to educate your patient population about important health issues, such as substance abuse. For more specific information on heart disease (the #1 killer in America), review data from the Centers for Disease Control’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report which has just released a report entitled Update: Heart Disease and Stroke Statistics – 2013 Update. Lastly, a worthwhile website for looking up additional healthcare guides is Greatist. They offer not only great general health info but some good suggestions for helping your SMI patient population lead healthy lives.


Further Reading

Best Data-Driven Strategies to Prevent Heart Disease in People with Serious Mental Illness; New Clinical Decision Support System to Improve Cardiac Care for Patients with Severe Mental Health Problems. American College of Cardiology (ACCF) 65th Annual Scientific Session: Abstract 126 – The Mental Illness and Cardiovascular Risks studies were supported by grants from Eli Lilly, King Pharmaceuticals, Forest Research Institute, Bristol-Myers Squibb/Otsuka Pharmaceuticals, Janssen Pharmaceuticals, AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals, Otsuka America Pharmaceuticals Inc., Ortho-McNeil Neurologics Inc., Pfizer Inc., GlaxoSmithKline Services LLC, Cephalon Inc., Genentech Inc., Bristol Myers Squibb Company (BMS), Novartis Pharma AG, King Pharmaceuticals Funding Initiative from NIDA Grants DA048086 & DA08295.

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