People affected by mental illness experience much poorer physical health than the general population.
This is especially true of people living with a psychotic illness such asschizophrenia. It is important, therefore, that they are helped to monitor,maintain, and improve their physical wellbeing. Family, friends, healthprofessionals, and support workers can all play a role in encouragingpractical steps to achieve this.
People living with a long-term physical health condition also experiencemuch higher rates of depression and anxiety disorders than the generalpopulation.
People with a psychotic illness have poor physical health for a variety ofreasons. These are associated with symptoms, the side-effects of somemedications, and a range of lifestyle factors such as diet and lack ofexercise.
Conditions which people with psychotic illness experience at higher ratesthan the general population include:
- Chronic pain 31.8%
- Asthma 30.1%
- Heart or cardiovascular condition 26.8%
- Diabetes 20.5%
- The range of risk factors includes:
- Physical inactivity
Very few people with psychotic illness are physically active. Over nine outof ten (96.4%) are sedentary or physically inactive compared to 72% of thegeneral population.
Almost half of people with psychotic illness are obese (45.1%), double therate of the general population.
Two in three people (66.1%) with psychotic illness smoke tobacco. This isdramatically higher than the general population rate of 25.3%.
The abuse of alcohol and drugs among people with psychotic illness is farhigher than in the general population.
Half of people with psychotic illness (49.9%) have metabolic syndrome: a collection of risk factors that often occur together and can increase risk of cardiovascular disease (stroke or heart disease) and type 2 diabetes.