An extensive analysis of insurance claims data underscores the additional medical complications that may arise among individuals with bipolar disease.

The new study demonstrated that patients with a bipolar diagnosis were at greater risk for a wide range of comorbid conditions.

Patients diagnosed with bipolar disorder were 3.13 times more likely than the control group to have a trauma or an incident related to the treatment of the disorder (such as craniocerebral injury or lithium toxicity).

Additionally, bipolar patients were 1.68 times more likely to have an endocrine or metabolic disorder than were patients with no mental health diagnoses.

Medications to treat bipolar disorder such as mood stabilizers and antipsychotic medication have been associated with increased risk for endocrine disorders including hypothyroidism, diabetes, and hyperparathyroidism.

Studies have shown bipolar disorder is associated with poor health behaviors such as overeating and smoking. Obesity is an established risk factor for diabetes mellitus and other metabolic disorders.

“Medication use and behavioral characteristics are known to increase the risk of disease among bipolar patients, but much is still unknown about the reasons for increased rates of comorbidities among this population and ways to reduce them,” said William D. Marder, Ph.D., one of the study’s authors.

“Our analysis underscores the urgent need for further exploration of how to best increase providers’ capacity to address, monitor and ultimately improve the psychiatric and physical health of their bipolar patients.”

Source: Thomson Reuters