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People with serious mental illness may have increased heart disease risk at younger ages

An analysis of nearly 600,000 adults in the U.S. found people with bipolar disorder, schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder had up to double the estimated cardiovascular risk levels than those without such illnesses, even at younger ages. The study focused on adults diagnosed with one of those three serious mental illnesses, who were not hospitalized or living in a mental health treatment center and estimated their 10-year and 30-year cardiovascular risk. Earlier identification and management of major cardiovascular risk factors — including obesity, smoking, diabetes and high blood pressure — in young adults with a serious mental illness may reduce risk of heart disease and improve outcomes, researchers said.