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Bipolar disorder is a serious biological condition, and studies have shown it can lead to other serious health conditions like heart disease and stroke. The good news, however, is that this condition and its side effects are also highly treatable. On this webcast, a leading expert, Dr. Gary Sachs, joins host Andrew Schorr to discuss the risks that patients suffering bipolar disorder will face, and how best to overcome or counteract these risks. Dr. Gary Sachs is Associate Professor in Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, as well as Director of the Bipolar Mood Disorder Program at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.

Dr. Sachs and Andrew go into detail about how to get help for bipolar and its related condition. Dr. Sachs differentiates it from normal fluctuations in mood. He also discusses important things to think about when your friend or family member is diagnosed. For instance, he explains the benefits of behavior therapy, family therapy or other therapy in conjunction with medications. Dr. Sachs also discusses a recent study showing that more bipolar patients die of other conditions, such as heart disease and obesity, than those in other populations. He explores what this study means for you or your loved one, and what steps you can take to ensure bipolar patients stay healthy.

People with bipolar disorder are at higher risk for heart disease, obesity, cancer, and stroke. Listen to this show find out why staying healthy is essential for bipolar patients, and concrete ways to deal with health and interpersonal problems even when you begin to feel irritable. Andrew Schorr tells us why advocating for better treatment from your doctor can not only improve your life, but how it can save your life.

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Produced in association with Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center


Andrew Schorr:

Hello once again. Andrew Schorr here broadcasting from again still sunny Seattle. I'm happy to report that every day, and as you know this is the only program on radio or on the Internet where day after day, at length, in depth, we tackle important health issues for you and your family.

Yesterday we had great fun with Joy Bauer from the "Today Show" talking about nutrition issues. I learned a lot, and I went back to my son Eitan and said, 'No, there's not a chip you can wear to warn you about junk food.' But happily today when he had the option of maybe having strawberries with a little whipped cream on it he said, 'I'll skip the whipped cream. No just give me the strawberries.' So he was great. He's learning. Hopefully you are learning about nutrition, too; one of the things we discuss, because there certainly is an epidemic of diabetes, and diabetes is affecting kids now. We're going to talk about that. I even learned from a sleep specialist that more and more kids are suffering from sleep apnea, and it's going with their obesity.

So these are the kinds of things we talk about. One of the natty issues is all the mental health issues. I know I have some in my family diagnosed with ADHD. It took a long time to figure that out. Someone else in the family was finally diagnosed with generalized anxiety and takes a medicine that makes a big difference for that, but it went on for years trying to figure out are these behavior issues? Do you just have bad relationships? Do you just get moody? What's going on?

One kind of disorder related to that that's pretty serious but can be treated is bipolar disorder, and there are ads in different magazines for some of the medications, and there are medications out there, and certainly some people can be really up, and they can be really down, but those swings can affect their relationships and how they get along and whether they even have accidents or behaviors that are harmful.

One of the leading experts in the country is joining us today to help us better understand bipolar disorder; the treatments, the research, and also where we are in helping people with bipolar disorder so they get they treatment they need and deserve, and there's the proper communication between them, their family, primary care doctor, and psychiatrists who are often the people who help them, the specialists in this.

So joining us today from Boston is Dr. Gary Sachs. Dr. Sachs is Associate Professor in Psychiatry at the Harvard Medical School. He's also the Director of the Bipolar Mood Disorder Program at one our leading institutions, Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. Dr. Sachs, thanks for being with us on Patient Power.

Dr. Sachs:

My pleasure. I should also add that it's beautifully sunny and bright in Boston today as well.

Andrew Schorr:

I'm happy to hear that sir, because I want in Boston just about the time of the marathon, and it was not so. It was winter in the spring, but having a kid who's considering going to Boston College, I'm dreaming of good weather and lots of great trips to Boston, so I'm looking forward to it.

Dr. Sachs:

I hope that works out.

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