New checks for mental health patients in Lincoln may keep people alive longer
Mental health patients have a lower life expectancy than most people because they do not look after their bodies, a charity has warned.
Rethink Mental Illness says those suffering with mental health issues generally die 20 years earlier than the average person in the country.
And the charity believes this is because conditions like heart disease often go undetected due to the focus on the patients' mental health.
Helen Doyle, of Rethink Mental Illness, said: "Very few people realise that if you have a severe mental illness such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder, your life expectancy is reduced by around 20 years. People with schizophrenia are twice as likely to die from heart disease, and two to three times more likely to develop Type 2 diabetes.
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"It really is a disgrace that in the 21st century people with mental illness have the same life expectancy as the 1920s."
Dr Mike Knapton, associate medical director at the British Heart Foundation, said: "We believe that all adults should have health checks, and these should be targeted on particularly high risk problems which includes people with mental health problems.
"If you can identify with risk factors for cardiovascular disease early then people can make simple lifestyle changes and they can be prescribed medication, all of which can reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke."