Objective: The prevalence of cardiovascular disease in people with schizophrenia is known to be above population norms. In addition, many antipsychotic drugs have been associated with weight gain and some with dyslipidaemia. Our aims were to determine the apparent and actual prevalence of the modifiable risk factors for cardiovascular disease: obesity, hyperlipidaemia and smoking, in hospitalized patients treated with antipsychotic drugs.
Method: (i) Survey of clinical notes. (ii) Direct measurement of fasting lipids, body mass index and waist : hip ratio.
Results: Lipids were rarely monitored and body weight often not recorded making the apparent prevalence of these cardiovascular risk factors low. Smoking status was recorded. When directly measured, the actual prevalence of obesity was above population norms and two-thirds of patients had a dyslipidaemia.
Conclusion: Routine screening for these modifiable risk factors followed by active intervention where appropriate could significantly reduce morbidity and mortality in this patient group.