Disorders and Treatment
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A 10-year study shows that having a mental illness increases the risk of developing a physical illness by 10 times.
The study also found that men are more likely to develop physical illness than women.
Furthermore, it was found that, compared to men, women with mental illness were at a 14 percent reduced risk of developing physical illness. Men, particularly men with mental illness, are disadvantaged physically from a health perspective.
“The role of gender as a risk factor for illness is not always considered, but is an important element in medical research,” explained Dr. Flora Matheson, a scientist in St. Michael’s Hospital Centre for Research on Inner City Health.
As much as 30 percent of the population lives with some degree or variety of mental illness in any given year. here is a growing interest in the medical community to discover the relationships between mental and physical illness. Recent studies have found that people with serious mental illness have higher rates of physical ailments like hypertension and cardiovascular disease, viral and respiratory diseases. Dr. Matheson’s study shows there is also a gender relationship between mental illness and physical disease.
“This study suggests the need for more research on the subject to fully understand connections between gender and complex health issues,” said Matheson. “The research also indicates a need for policy change to be more sensitive to these complex-needs patients. Short assessments often restrict physicians from addressing all potential health problems, limiting preventative care. There’s potential for reduced health system costs if we can better meet the needs of patients with complex health issues.”
Sources: Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health, MedicalNewsToday
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