The metabolic syndrome among people with serious mental illness: what action we need to take?
Background: The metabolic syndrome is especially common in people with severe mental illness (SMI) and it describers a cluster of cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors. CVD is the leading natural cause of death in schizophrenia. The aim of the symposium is to identify the prevalence of metabolic syndrome among the in-patient mental health rehabilitation population. Methods: The International Diabetic Federation (IDF) defi nes the metabolic syndrome as central obesity plus any two of hyperglycaemia, hypertriglyceridaemia, low HDL cholesterol or hypertension. All 20 patients were screened according to the defi nition criteria of metabolic syndrome set by the International Diabetic Federation. The prevalence of metabolic syndrome was calculated to be 50% among all patients. Of this group men (40%) were signifi cantly more affected than women (10%). Conclusion and recommendation: Each person with SMI within the health system should be offered an annual physical assessment for metabolic syndrome and CVD risk factors. People with the metabolic syndrome or with one or more of its parameters should receive prompt preventative intervention. To reduce the morbidity and mortality of people with SMI, health care professionals need to embrace a truly holistic approach to patient care that includes mental health, physical health and lifestyle management.