HealthDay News — The presence of a mental disorder is associated with an increased risk for many subsequent medical conditions, according to a study on a Danish population cohort published online in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Natalie C. Momen, PhD, from Aarhus University in Denmark, and colleagues used a population-based cohort from Danish national registries on persons born in Denmark from 1900 through 2015 and followed for a total of 83.9 million person-years. Ten broad types of mental disorders and 9 broad categories of medical conditions encompassing 31 specific conditions were assessed; the hazard ratios for pairs of mental disorders and medical conditions were calculated.

The researchers found that 11.8% of 5,940,299 persons were identified as having a mental disorder. With respect to 76 of 90 pairs of mental disorders and medical conditions, persons with a mental disorder had a higher risk than those without such disorders. For an association between a mental disorder and a medical condition, the median hazard ratio was 1.37. The lowest hazard ratio was for organic mental disorders and the broad category of cancer, while the highest was for eating disorders and urogenital conditions (0.82 and 3.62, respectively). The risks varied with time from mental disorder diagnosis.

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“Mental disorders affect lifestyle, daily habits, and socioeconomic status, which in turn may mediate the risk of subsequent medical conditions,” the authors write.


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The study was partially funded by grants from the Novo Nordisk Foundation.

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