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Patients with severe mental illness (SMI), such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorders, are more frequently affected by metabolic syndrome and cardiovascular (CV) diseases than the general population, with a significant reduction in life expectancy. Beyond metabolic syndrome, quantifying the risk of CV morbidity in the long-term may help clinicians to put in place preventive strategies. In this study, we assessed 10-year CV risk in patients with SMI and healthy individuals using an algorithm validated on the Italian general population.
Patients aged 35–69 years diagnosed with SMI were consecutively recruited from psychiatric acute care units. Single CV risk factors were assessed, and 10-year CV risk calculated by means of the CUORE Project 10-year CV risk algorithm, based on the combination of the following risk factors: age, systolic blood pressure, total and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, diabetes, smoking habit, and hypertensive treatment. Patients’ data were compared with those from the general population. The 10-year CV risk was log-transformed, and multivariable linear regression was used to estimate mean ratios, adjusting for age, and education.
Three hundred patients and 3,052 controls were included in the analysis. Among men, the 10-year CV risk score was very similar between patients with SMI and the general population (mean ratio [MR]: 1.02; 95%CI 0.77–1.37), whereas a 39% increase in 10-year CV risk was observed in women with SMI compared to the general population (MR: 1.39; 95%CI 1.16–1.66).
In our study, women with SMI were consistently more at risk than the general population counterpart, even at younger age.
Schizophrenia is a leading cause of disability. People living with schizophrenia (PLWS) present unemployment, social isolation, excess mortality and morbidity, and poor quality of life. Early recognition and appropriate treatment reduce the risk of chronicity and comorbidity. Personalization and integration of pharmacological and psychosocial interventions, as well as accurate identification and management of psychiatric and somatic comorbidities, can significantly improve mental and physical health of PLWS, promoting recovery.
A three-step Delphi approach was used to explore consensus on the essential components of early recognition and intervention, personalization, and integration of care to improve schizophrenia outcome, and on barriers and challenges to close treatment gaps. The consensus involved 8 Italian experts of schizophrenia, 100 psychiatrists from academic and nonacademic settings, including representatives of Italian Society of Psychiatry, and 65 trainees in psychiatry.
A strong consensus (from mostly agree to totally agree) emerged on the importance of early diagnosis (97%), standardized assessments (91%), correct management of somatic and psychiatric comorbidities (99%), and personalization and integration of care (94%). Lack of time, human resources, and training were identified as the main barriers and challenges to the translation of knowledge into clinical practice.
The results of this Delphi study demonstrated a strong consensus on main components of schizophrenia care, as well as on unmet needs to promote best practice and gaps between knowledge and clinical practice. The involvement of a large group of professionals and trainees in this in-depth consensus process might contribute to raise awareness and stimulate innovative strategies to improve the outcome of PLWS.