Schizophrenia linked to threefold increase in death risk

Wide life expectancy gap

After excluding people who died before the age of 15 and a small number for whom cause of death was not available, the researchers included 1,621,251 deaths in the analysis. Of these, 31,349 (1.9 percent) occurred in people with schizophrenia.

The analysis showed that, over the 20-year period, “individuals with schizophrenia experienced three times greater mortality rates, compared with the general population, even after adjustment for sociodemographic factors.”

“Those with schizophrenia also died younger and lost more potential years of life,” note the authors.

While average age of death for people with schizophrenia did go up between 1993 and 2012 (from 64.7 to 67.4 years) – as it did in the general population (from 73.3 to 76.7 years) – there remained a large life expectancy gap of at least 8 years between the two groups.

Dr. Kurdyak says that as well as revealing “astonishingly high mortality rates” for people with schizophrenia, their findings highlight an “equity issue.”

He and his colleagues suggest that people with schizophrenia have not benefited from the reduction in cardiovascular deaths observed in the general population.

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