Background: The aims of the study were to determine the prevalence of cardiometabolic risk factors and establish the proportion of people with psychosis meeting criteria for the metabolic syndrome (MetS). The study also aimed to identify the key lifestyle behaviours associated with increased risk of the MetS and to investigate whether the MetS is associated with illness severity and degree of functional impairment.
Method: Baseline data were collected as part of a large randomized controlled trial (IMPaCT RCT). The study took place within community mental health teams in five Mental Health NHS Trusts in urban and rural locations across England. A total of 450 randomly selected out-patients, aged 18-65 years, with an established psychotic illness were recruited. We ascertained the prevalence rates of cardiometabolic risk factors, illness severity and functional impairment and calculated rates of the MetS, using International Diabetes Federation (IDF) and National Cholesterol Education Program Third Adult Treatment Panel criteria.
Results: High rates of cardiometabolic risk factors were found. Nearly all women and most men had waist circumference exceeding the IDF threshold for central obesity. Half the sample was obese (body mass index ≥ 30 kg/m2) and a fifth met the criteria for type 2 diabetes mellitus. Females were more likely to be obese than males (61% v. 42%, p < 0.001). Of the 308 patients with complete laboratory measures, 57% (n = 175) met the IDF criteria for the MetS.
Conclusions: In the UK, the prevalence of cardiometabolic risk factors in individuals with psychotic illnesses is much higher than that observed in national general population studies as well as in most international studies of patients with psychosis.
Keywords: Metabolic syndrome; physical health; psychotic disorder; schizophrenia; severe mental illnesses.