- (1) Mental Health Services, grid.466916.a, Central Denmark Region
- (2) Aarhus University Hospital, grid.154185.c, Central Denmark Region
OBJECTIVES: People with severe mental disorders die averagely 15years earlier than people in the Western background population, cardiovascular disease being the most frequent cause of death with unhealthy eating habits and lower levels of physical activity as major contributing risk factors. Understanding possible associations and predictors of the specific cardiovascular risk may permit more targeted and effective prevention. The aim of this study was to investigate the associations between clinical and psychosocial factors and several separate cardiovascular risk factors in a cohort of 428 persons with schizophrenia and abdominal obesity enrolled in the CHANGE trial. METHODS: We used data from baseline and two-year follow-up of 428 individuals with schizophrenia spectrum disorders and abdominal overweight enrolled in the CHANGE trial. By linear regressions we explored the relationships between clinical and psychosocial factors and established cardiovascular risk factors: Dependent variables were baseline and follow-up values of the following: VO2max, waist circumference, high density lipoprotein (HDL), systolic blood pressure and HbA1c. Independent variables were baseline values of the following: negative symptoms, positive symptoms, cognition, level of functioning, antipsychotic medication, duration of illness, employment situation and whether the participants had any friend. RESULTS: Negative symptoms were associated with most baseline- as well as two-years-outcome; negatively with cardiorespiratory fitness and with dietary quality and with HDL, and with increasing values of the variables waist circumference, BMI and HbA1c. Negative symptoms were seen also to predict poorer cardiorespiratory fitness and larger waist circumference, higher HbA1c and lower HDL at two year follow-up. Level of functioning and Cognitive function correlated positively with cardiorespiratory fitness and HDL, and correlated negatively with waist circumference and HbA1c. Both parameters also predicted a better fitness, higher HDL and lower HbA1c at two year follow-up. Isolating the antipsychotic drugs known to give the worst metabolic adverse effects (olanzapine, clozapine, quetiapine), the dosage was positively associated with cholesterol, but not with any other outcome. Psychotic symptoms and duration of illness were not significantly associated with any outcome. Employment of any kind was significantly associated with cardiorespiratory fitness and negatively associated with waist circumference, BMI and systolic blood pressure. At two year follow-up associations were significant for the two year outcomes cardiorespiratory fitness and waist circumference. Friendship relations were negatively associated with waist circumference and positively with HDL cholesterol. None of the two year outcomes were predicted by friendship. CONCLUSIONS: We found various clinical and psychosocial factors to be associated with less healthy lifestyle factors and higher risk of cardiovascular disease, with negative symptoms building the strongest associations, although a possible bidirectional causality needs to be regarded. Reduction of negative symptoms should be investigated further in order to reduce the increased cardiovascular morbidity and mortality in people with schizophrenia spectrum disorders.