Researchers Encourage Metabolic Syndrome Screening For Bipolar Disorder Patients

Individuals diagnosed with bipolar disorder,particularly older males and those receiving atypical antipsychotic treatment, may benefit from systematic screening for metabolic syndrome, according to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry.

The researchers from Hôpital La Salpêtriere, France, observed that 18.5% of 654 bipolar disorder patients included in the study had the metabolic syndrome. While that rate is actually consistent with the rates found in Europe and slightly lower than those found in America, researchers were concerned that two-thirds of the patients identified with metabolic syndrome in the study were not receiving adequate treatment.

“Undertreatment of hypertension and diabetes in patients with bipolar disorder are the areas of greatest concern, because of the high rates of CVD [cardiovascular disease]-related mortality and morbidity in this population”, explained lead researcher Ophélia Godin.

The researchers argue regular monitoring of the various components of the metabolic syndrome is an essential step for early detection and management of the condition.

The study findings showed men were most at risk, as they had twice the rate of the condition compared to women, and patients older than 48, who showed a 3.5 times greater risk than patients below 35-years-old.

Keeping with previous findings, body mass index (BMI) also had a notable effect on the risk of developing metabolic syndrome, as researchers noted each 1-point increase in BMI upped the risk by 30%.

Bipolar disorder was not directly related to an increased risk, however the use of antipsychotic medication increased the risk 2.3 fold. The researchers believe this is due to negative lifestyle changes influenced by the use of the medication, which also causes weight gain. They believe attempts should be made to improve the lifestyle of bipolar patients and advise care when choosing which psychotropic drugs to use.

“These findings also highlight the need for integrated care, with more interaction and coordination between psychiatrists and primary care providers”, the team concludes.

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