Bipolar disorder was associated with premature mortality in a large study of Swedish adults by Casey Crump, M.D., Ph.D., of Stanford University, California, and colleagues.

The study used outpatient and inpatient data from more than 6.5 million Swedish adults, including 6,618 with bipolar disorder, to examine the physical health effects associated with bipolar disorder. Bipolar disorder is a chronic mental illness and a leading cause of disability worldwide.

According to the results, women and men with bipolar disorder died nine and 8.5 years earlier on average, respectively, than the rest of the population. All-cause mortality was increased two-fold among women and men with bipolar disorder compared to the rest of the population. Patients with bipolar disorder also had increased mortality from cardiovascular disease, diabetes mellitus, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), influenza or pneumonia, unintentional injuries and suicide for both women and men, and cancer for women only.

"Timely medical diagnosis appeared to improve chronic disease mortality among bipolar disorder patients to approach that of the general population. More effective provision of primary, preventive medical care is needed to reduce early mortality among persons with bipolar disorder," the study concludes.