Medical Morbidity and Mortality in Schizophrenia: Guidelines for Psychiatrists
J Clin Psychiatry 2005;66(2):183-194
© Copyright 2014 Physicians Postgraduate Press, Inc.
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Background: Medical morbidity and mortality
rates remain elevated in schizophrenia patients compared with the
general population, in part due to potentially reversible medical
risk factors. Psychiatrists should address this problem by
adopting established strategies for prevention and intervention.
Method: The literature on modifiable medical
risk factors relevant to individuals with schizophrenia and
corresponding guidelines for prevention and treatment established
by expert consensus panels were reviewed.
Results: Schizophrenia patients are at elevated
risk for cardiovascular disease due to high rates of cigarette
smoking and, increasingly, due to obesity, diabetes, and
hypertriglyceridemia. Rates of human immunodeficiency virus
infection and infectious hepatitis are also higher in
schizophrenia patients. Interventions that have reduced medical
morbidity in the general population can be adopted to reduce
premature mortality in individuals with schizophrenia.
Conclusions: Patients with schizophrenia have
high rates of potentially reversible medical morbidity.
Implementation of practice guidelines for identifying and
modifying risk factors could substantially improve the health of
patients with schizophrenia.