Background: The metabolic syndrome is a growing global public health problem which is frequently associated with psychiatric illness.
Objectives: To evaluate the prevalence of metabolic syndrome and to study its profile in Tunisian bipolar I patients.
Methods: Our study included 130 patients with bipolar I disorder diagnosed according to the DSM-IV and assessed for metabolic syndrome according to the National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP) Adult Treatment Panel (ATP) III modified criteria. The mean age was 37.9 ± 12.1 years, 45 were women (mean age 37.5 ± 13.4 years) and 85 were men (mean age 38.1 ± 11.4 years).
Results: The prevalence of metabolic syndrome was 26.1%.The highest prevalence of this syndrome was obtained by association between obesity, low c-HDL and hypertriglyceridemia (44.1%). In the total sample, 59.2% met the criteria for low c-HDL, 53.1% for hypertriglyceridemia, 33.8% for obesity, 16.1% for high fasting glucose and 5.4% for hypertension. Gender, age, illness episode and treatment were not significantly associated with metabolic syndrome, while patients under lithium had higher prevalence of metabolic syndrome than those under valproic acid, carbamazepine or antipsychotics. Patients with metabolic syndrome had significant higher levels of HOMA-IR and uric acid than metabolic syndrome free patients (p< 0.001).
Conclusions: Bipolar patients have high prevalence of metabolic syndrome which is associated with insulin resistance and an increase of uric acid values that raise the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Keywords: bipolar disorder; insulin resistance; metabolic syndrome; uric acid.