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Schizophr Res. 2019 Apr;206:284-290. doi: 10.1016/j.schres.2018.11.003. Epub 2018 Nov 13.

Cause-specific life years lost among persons diagnosed with schizophrenia: Is it getting better or worse?

Author information

1
National Center for Register-based Research, Aarhus, Denmark; The Lundbeck Foundation Initiative for Integrative Psychiatric Research (iPSYCH), Aarhus, Denmark. Electronic address: tml@econ.au.dk.
2
National Center for Register-based Research, Aarhus, Denmark.
3
Section of Biostatistics, University of Copenhagen, Denmark.
4
National Center for Register-based Research, Aarhus, Denmark; Queensland Centre for Mental Health Research, The Park Centre for Mental Health, Australia.
5
National Center for Register-based Research, Aarhus, Denmark; The Lundbeck Foundation Initiative for Integrative Psychiatric Research (iPSYCH), Aarhus, Denmark.
6
The Lundbeck Foundation Initiative for Integrative Psychiatric Research (iPSYCH), Aarhus, Denmark; Danish Research Institute for Suicide Prevention, Mental Health Centre Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark.
7
School of Demography, Australian National University, Australia.
8
Danish Research Institute for Suicide Prevention, Mental Health Centre Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

People with schizophrenia have an increased risk of premature mortality compared to the general population. We aimed to quantify which types of causes of death contributed to the excess mortality, and to examine whether there has been an increase in the excess mortality among persons with schizophrenia in the period 1995 to 2015.

METHOD:

We used a cohort design including the entire Danish population. We calculated life years lost of the cohort members compared to a set reference-age at 95 years old. Using a decomposition model we examined differences of cause-specific death among those with schizophrenia and the general population, including calendar trends during the last two decades.

RESULTS:

In the general population, as well as in persons with schizophrenia, we found improvements in life years lost during the last two decades. Men with schizophrenia lost 13.5 years more than the general population (women; 11.4 years). Compared to the general population, a large improvement in life years lost with respect to suicide and accidents was found in those with schizophrenia, but, this improvement was offset by an increasing number of life years lost in deaths from diseases and medical conditions.

CONCLUSION:

Our findings highlight the urgent need for focused treatment of general medical conditions in those with schizophrenia. Without such an investment, it is probable that the life years lost among persons with schizophrenia (compared to the general population) will continue to worsen in future decades.

KEYWORDS:

Calendar-trend; Life years lost; Mortality; Schizophrenia

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