July 14, 2005

Identifying Metabolic Syndrome

Those taking antipsychotic medication have a heightened risk of developing metabolic syndrome's that can increase their chance of having a cardiovascular disease. As Reuters health states on Medscape.com, "While individual components of the syndrome such as dyslipidemia and hyperglycemia are known to be associated with the drugs, Dr. David Straker of Columbia University Medical Center and colleagues write, its prevalence in these patients is not clear. Also, the researchers note in the June issue of the American Journal of Psychiatry, patients taking second-generation antipsychotics are not routinely screened for the syndrome." Dyslipidemia is a condition in which you have abnormal concentrations of lipids or lipoproteins in the blood; lipids are fats, oils, and waxes. Hyperglycemia is an excess of sugar in the blood.

An efficient way of discovering whether someone has a metabolic syndrome is to combine their waist circumference (over 40 inches in men and over 35 inches in women) with fasting blood glucose at a level at or above 110mg/dL. When doing this researchers were able to distinguish between those with or without a metabolic syndrome. When researchers combined waist circumference with elevated blood pressure they were able to identify most, but not all of those who had the syndrome. 25 out of the 26 were identified with this method (96.2%).

Both methods are very effective at determining whether one has a metabolic syndrome and in different scenarios one may be more practical than the other. For example, testing fasting blood glucose and combining the figures with weight circumference is a cost-effective approach. Using the other method in which one looks at elevated blood pressure levels instead, is good for when you do not have the ability to look at fasting blood work.

Those taking antipsychotics should be aware of their health and their potential side effects. It is always good to have a doctor check up on your metabolic status to ensure that you do not have a metabolic syndrome. Being vigilant about check ups is one way to avoid such health risks.

The source of this article was Medscape, Reuters Health. Medscape can be accessed at http://www.medscape.com/homepage

For more information on metabolic syndrome in those with schizophrenia go to: http://tinyurl.com/d7bk9


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