Spanish researchers have found that people with bipolar disorder face an increased risk of developing the metabolic syndrome. In the past, metabolic syndrome was also found to be more common in schizophrenia.
The metabolic syndrome is a common mix of connected problems, which include obesity, high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes/insulin resistance, and high cholesterol levels. These problems are important, because they markedly increase a person's risk of heart attacks and strokes.
Researchers studied 194 patients with bipolar disorder. Half the participants were not experiencing depression or mania symptoms at the time of the study. Overall, 22% of the bipolar patients met the criteria for the metabolic syndrome, which is higher than is found in the general population.
Writing in the Journal of Affective Disorders, Dr Garcia-Portilla and team conclude: "Our results confirm the high prevalence of the metabolic syndrome in patients with bipolar disorder, 60% higher than that reported for the general Spanish population."
Although doctors will normally screen for this problem as part of a general check up, this study shows that the distiction between physical and psychological illnesses is often only in the doctor's mind.
Reference: J Affect Disord 2008; 106: 197-201
Jacob Teitelbaum, M.D. is one of the world's leading integrative medical authorities on fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue. He is the lead author of four research studies on their treatments, and has published numerous health & wellness books, including the bestseller on fibromyalgia From Fatigued to Fantastic! and The Fatigue and Fibromyalgia Solution. Dr. Teitelbaum is one of the most frequently quoted fibromyalgia experts in the world and appears often as a guest on news and talk shows nationwide including Good Morning America, The Dr. Oz Show, Oprah & Friends, CNN, and Fox News Health.