So, I was surfing the net the other day when I stumble upon this lovely headline on the Psych Central website:
Bipolar Patients Die Nearly a Decade Earlier Than Others
Immediately I thought to myself, oh hell, don’t we deal with enough? What’s next?
It’s really no surprise. A friend and I were discussing this subject a couple of years ago. We did not read any studies about it, but agreed the pills we swallow every day are likely having effects on our bodies as well as our brain. Being optimistic little bipolars that we are, we agreed that it was probably not a good thing and would have to accept that we probably won’t live as long as we should.
Well, here we are validated, and it’s worse than we thought. According to the study, by Stanford University, women with bipolar disorder die nine years earlier than the general population. Guys get a little bit of a break. We live 8 ½ years less than the general population. I’m going to be sure to savor those extra 6 months.
My initial reaction was probably similar to others: Of course our life span is shorter because of the high rate of suicides among those who have bipolar. The study did acknowledge this, but went on to say that bipolar patients were also at greater risk of dying from heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder, the flu and pneumonia.
Here’s the interesting part: “Bipolar patients who were aware that they had those physical illnesses, however, had death rates similar to people who were not bipolar, according to the researchers, who suggested “that timely medical diagnosis and treatment may effectively reduce mortality among bipolar disorder patients to approach that of the general population.”
So, why is this true? Is it because we don’t see our doctors as often as the general public? It’s a good possibility. Seeing a therapist twice a month and seeing my pdoc once a month is plenty of doctors for me. The last thing I want to do is go see another doctor for a physical. Actually, I decided to fire my General Practitioner a few months ago. I haven’t found another one, yet, but it looks like I may want to get my ass in gear and find one. I mean, these numbers blow my mind.
I’ve always said that my goal is to live to 102, but I guess I must be realistic and drop it down to 93. Oh well, one more thing to adapt to.