"There was an exceedingly high mortality rate among people with these disorders, particularly those who suffer from the combination of epilepsy and schizophrenia. More than 25 per cent of them die between the ages of 25-50," said Jakob Christensen, one of the researchers of the study.
"The results are really intended to help healthcare professionals develop new working processes so that this group of patients can get the right treatment. We already know from previous studies, that this group of patients die from a wide range of lifestyle diseases, and that some of these are preventable," said Christensen.
"With the way things are now, this patient group can easily fall between two chairs and end up being sent back and forth between different medical specialists or between hospitals and their general practitioner. It appears that people with epilepsy and schizophrenia are particularly vulnerable - and there is certainly room for improvement in the way the healthcare system deals with them and their treatment," Christensen added.
Studies have identified a clear association between epilepsy and mental disorders, including depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, and psychosis. A Danish study has shown that people with epilepsy have a risk of developing schizophrenia that is two-and-a-half times higher than those without epilepsy.
Among the subjects in the study, 18,943 were diagnosed with epilepsy, 10,208 were diagnosed with schizophrenia, and 471 were diagnosed with both epilepsy and schizophrenia before they turned 25.
The mortality rate for these subjects at the age of 50 was 3.1 per cent for people who did not suffer from epilepsy and schizophrenia; 10.7 per cent for people with epilepsy; 17.4 per cent for people with schizophrenia; and 27.2 per cent for people with both epilepsy and schizophrenia.
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