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Bipolar Disorder and Heart Disease

The Risk is very real and far to often overlooked. Bipolar Disorder is not just a quirk of the mind which people need to learn to live with, no matter how well managed the disorder itself is, it carries with it a very real physical impact on the body and health.

Bipolar Disorder is NOT at any stage merely an unleashed mind which needs to be trained and disciplined it is in every way a disease which impacts the body and physical health.

Once someone receives a diagnosis of bipolar disorder they are NO LONGER eligible for life insurance. If they try to apply the best they can get is coverage for funeral and death by accident that is it.

This is not due to the risk of Suicide, if so like most mental illness it would merely carry an exclusion for suicide, but it doesn’t. Patients with Bipolar Disorder simply do not reach 80 years of age. It is a sure bet that if they qualified for life insurance it would pay out. life insurance is a wager made by the life insurance company that you will reach 80 years of age. because at that point the policy matures and no longer has to pay out….and a wager placed by you that you won’t become elderly and decrepid. Insurace companies know what the odd’s are for Bipolar Patients and they wont take the wager. It’s that simple.

Your Doctor may not be aware to look for it. Unfortunately it is in the hands of the patient to push for any and all cardiac symptoms and risk to be monitored and fully investigated.

Bruce’s risk currently is his heart and diabetes, it is far greater than that of suicide. He has developed ischemic heart disease. This is part and parcel of his Bipolar Disorder and it took the doctors 4 years of him collapsing with chest pain to actually start investigating and treating it rather than telling him he was just having panick attacks.

It is life threatening, it is SERIOUS! Suicide is not the biggest risk of Bipolar Disorder.


“Published in the journal Circulation, the paper said more doctors should begin actively monitoring and intervening on that risk. While the links between depression and adult cardiovascular disease are well known, the statement called on more awareness and action in catching the risks among youth with mood disorders.

The paper looked at several studies that evaluated the presence of major depressive mood disorders and bipolar disorders and links to early onset of cardiovascular disease and related deaths.

“This is really something people should be looking at. We think of mood disorders as mental illnesses, but they also have physical manifestations,” said Dr. Benjamin Goldstein, the statement’s chief author. “It is well known if you look at adults with mood disorders, they don’t get the same standard of care for heart disease or stroke. We want to make sure that doesn’t happen to teenagers.””


The authors determined whether diagnoses of cardiovascular disease (CVD) and CVD-related conditions differed by psychiatric diagnosis among male Veterans Administration patients from the mid-Atlantic region. Among 7,529 patients (mean age: 54.5 years), the prevalence of diagnoses ranged from 3.6% (stroke) to 35.4% (hypertension). Compared with schizophrenia patients, those with bipolar disorder were 19% more likely to have diabetes, 44% more likely to have coronary artery disease, and 18% more likely to have dyslipidemia, after adjustment. Clinical suspicion for CVD-related conditions, as well as risk-modification strategies, in patients with serious mental illness should incorporate differences in prevalence across specific psychiatric diagnoses.


This large community sample demonstrates that people with SMI have an increased risk of death from CHD and stroke that is not wholly explained by antipsychotic medication, smoking, or social deprivation scores.


IHD (not suicide) was the major cause of excess mortality in psychiatric patients. In contrast to the rate in the general population, the IHS mortality rate in psychiatric patients did not diminish over time. There was little difference in hospital admission rates for IHD between psychiatric patients and the general community, but much lower rates of revascularisation procedures with psychiatric patients, particularly in people with psychoses. People with mental illness do not receive an equitable level of intervention for IHD. More attention to their general medical care is needed.

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