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17-04-2013 | Mental health | Article

CVD risk increased in Chinese patients with schizophrenia


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medwireNews: Chinese patients with schizophrenia have an elevated mean 10-year risk for cardiovascular disease (CVD), researchers have found.

They also report that both the metabolic syndrome and smoking particularly contribute to this increased risk.

"Our findings emphasize the need to encourage smoking cessation and screen for MetS [metabolic syndrome] simultaneously, to reduce the burden of excess CVD risk in individuals with schizophrenia," say Jimmy Lee (Institute of Mental Health, Singapore) and co-workers.

The 83 Chinese patients with schizophrenia participating in the study had, on average, a 4.6% 10-year CVD risk, according to the Framingham risk score, compared with 3.1% for 243 mentally healthy individuals from the Chinese community, who served as controls.

The results, published in Schizophrenia Research, also showed that for schizophrenia patients, the difference between their vascular age (age of the person with the same predicted CVD risk, but with all risk factors at normal) and their actual age was significantly greater than that for controls, at 4.6 years versus 0.6 years.

On multiple regression models, smoking and the metabolic syndrome were significantly associated with 10-year CVD risk, unlike total Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale score, duration of illness, type of antipsychotic medication, and daily dose of antipsychotic medication.

Rates of smoking were significantly higher among patients with schizophrenia than controls, at 24.1% versus 7.0%, as were rates of the metabolic syndrome, at 44.6% versus 16.9%, reflecting a threefold increased risk.

The researchers note that men with schizophrenia were a significant four times more likely to smoke than controls, whereas rates were similar among women with and without schizophrenia.

"This finding suggests that smoking cessation efforts targeted at male schizophrenia patients [are] potentially useful in decreasing CVD risk among patients with schizophrenia," they write.

With regard to the metabolic syndrome, the individual component most closely associated with CVD risk was central obesity, with 64% of patients, compared with 45% of controls, found to have central obesity. It was particularly prominent in female patients, affecting 88% compared with 54% of women without schizophrenia.

medwireNews ( is an independent clinical news service provided by Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2013

By Lucy Piper, Senior medwireNews Reporter

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