Increased risk of dying from infectious diseases in people with severe mental disorders


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People with psychotic or bipolar disorders are at a significantly higher risk of hospitalization and death from influenza, pneumonia, or sepsis. This is what a new registry study at Umeå University shows.

” In some age groups, the proportion of deaths due to Infectious diseases was sixfold. This means that we should discuss the introduction of more preventive measures for these groups of patients ”, explains Niklas Nilsson, research assistant in psychiatry at UmeÃ¥ University and first author of the study

The study covers the entire adult population in Sweden and is based on deaths and hospitalizations for the period 2018-2019.

Researchers compared the proportion of people with psychosis or bipolar troubles died or hospitalized due to influenza or pneumonia to the rest of the population. The researchers found that the proportion of deaths from influenza or pneumonia was double. In the 40 to 59 age group, the proportion of death was sixfold.

The research also looked at hospitalization or death due to sepsis related to blood poisoning. Here it turned out that people with psychosis or bipolar disorder were prone to significantly more hospitalizations. The proportion of deaths was also 60 percent higher.

The study does not explain why people with severe mental disorders run this dramatically increased risk of becoming seriously ill or dying from infectious diseases. One possible explanation could be that people with severe mental disorders often also suffer from other underlying somatic illnesses, which makes them more vulnerable. However, that doesn’t explain the whole picture. Even when researchers took into account risk factors such as diabetes, arterial hypertension and cardiovascular disease, the proportion of deaths associated with influenza or pneumonia was still almost triple for people with severe mental disorders compared to the rest of the population.

“Based on our results, some evidence suggests that serious mental disorders in themselves should be classified as a significant risk factor for adverse outcomes of infectious diseases,” says Martin Maripuu, a psychiatric researcher at the University of ‘UmeÃ¥ and principal investigator of the study. .

Earlier in 2021, researchers from Umeå also showed that people with severe mental disorders were at a higher risk of death associated with COVID-19. After that, several countries chose to prioritize this group for immunization.

“Perhaps it is time to prioritize people with severe mental disorders also for vaccination against seasonal influenza and against pneumococci, a type of bacteria that causes pneumonia,” says Niklas Nilsson.

The study was published in the Journal of Clinical Medicine.


Increased risk of dying from COVID for people with severe mental disorders


More information:
Niklas Harry Nilsson et al, Increased risks of death and hospitalization in influenza / pneumonia and sepsis for those affected by psychotic disorders, bipolar disorders and single manic episodes: a retrospective cross-sectional study, Journal of Clinical Medicine (2021). DOI: 10.3390 / jcm10194411
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Umea University

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