The mortality of schizophrenia patients is approximately twice that of the general population and there is a 20% reduction in life expectancy in this patient group. Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is responsible for as much as 50% of the excess mortality associated with schizophrenia. One important source of the high CVD prevalence is the cluster of metabolic characteristics defining the metabolic syndrome (MetS: 3 or more of the following features: abdominal obesity, high blood pressure, elevated levels of triglycerides and fasting glucose and low levels of high-density lipoproteins). Patients with schizophrenia seem to be undertreated for these vascular risk factors relative to the general population. More knowledge is needed concerning broadened risk factors of cardiovascular disease in a representative sample of schizophrenia patients. We conducted preliminary cross sectional analyses in a sample of 64 consecutive outpatients with schizophrenia with a mean age of 37 years consisting of 59% men, who were enrolled in a treatment study. All used antipsychotics, and 71% were smokers. We found that (percentage of patients under treatment for the respective somatic condition in parenthesis) 82% were overweight, 49% had hypertonia (17%), 24% hyperglycemia (3%), 48% hypertriglyceridemia and 13% hyperlipidemia (10% triglycerid or cholesterol lowering medication). Forty percent had metabolic syndrome compared to 11% in the normal population (Norway, age corrected). Additionally, estimates of insulin resistance will be conducted. We found that the prevalence of MetS components was high in outpatient schizophrenia. A substantial discrepancy was found between metabolic ill health and medication treatment of such conditions.
Disclosure of interest
The authors have not supplied their declaration of competing interest.