Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Obesity 4 Times More Likely in Schizophrenia Patients

That is the title of this article that talks about obesity in schizophrenia patients. “The risk for abdominal obesity is more than four times higher in patients with multi-episode schizophrenia compared to the general population, according to new meta-analytic research. These individuals are also at greater risk for other cardio-metabolic problems- such as low levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, metabolic syndrome, hypertriglyceridemia and diabetes.”  I already have a stomach.  Which I wish I could get rid of it because I was doing that and it stopped working and I fear I have gained some weight that I lost but not all.  I always get my labs checked when I go to the doctor.  The only thing I ever cared about is the diabetes number.  I go next Monday to check again.  My other numbers are usually ok.
The article says they checked a lot of people for this study.  “For the study, researchers conducted a meta-analysis of 136 studies involving 185,606 patients with schizophrenia – 28 of which provided data on nearly 3,900,000 population controls matched for age and gender.  This study is one of the largest ever conducted on people with schizophrenia. The findings reveal that patients with multi-episode schizophrenia were 4.43 times more likely to have abdominal obesity than controls.”  They studied a lot of patients.  People with schizophrenia are more likely to have obesity than the regular society.
The article goes on to say: “Furthermore, the risk for low HDL cholesterol, metabolic syndrome, and hypertriglyceridemia were more than doubled, at 2.35, 2.35, and 2.73, respectively.  The risk for diabetes was nearly double in these patients, and the risk for hypertension was increased 1.36 fold. With the exception of diabetes and hypertension, the risk for these conditions in multi-episode schizophrenia patients was also significantly increased versus that for first-episode or drug-naïve patients. Schizophrenia researchers have warned that weight gain occurs in up to 40 percent of patients taking medications called second-generation or atypical antipsychotic medications, which have been found effective in controlling major symptoms of schizophrenia.”  I do not know why it is so hard to lose weight I am doing the same things that I did when I lost twenty pounds so why did it come back.  I do have high blood pressure controlled by my medication. I really cannot remember if the weight came on first or the high blood pressure.  I was sick with something else and it all was happening about the same time gaining weight. Also at that time I had quit smoking.
According to the article: “Given the high rates of metabolic problems, the researchers propose that schizophrenia patients should, at the very least, have their waist circumference measured regularly, and, ideally, also their fasting glucose, triglyceride, HDL cholesterol, and hemoglobin A1C levels.  The also suggest routine screening of cardiovascular risk factors at key stages to create a risk profile for patients that takes into account their personal and family history.  This risk profile should afterwards be used as a basis for ongoing monitoring, treatment selection and management, wrote the researchers in World Psychiatry.”  They are all things I always check with my PCP.  I just want to see where I am at so I can make more changes if needed to make sure I am losing and not getting diabetes.
In closing the article says: “Lead researcher Davy Vancampfort, Ph.D., of the University Psychiatric Centre KU Leuven and collegues believe it is important to educate schizophrenia patients and their family members about the increased risk for cardio-metabolic abnormalities and ways to lessen it.  According to the researchers, many schizophrenia patients are either unaware of the need to make appropriate lifestyle changes or do not possess the knowledge and skills to do so.  The findings support guidelines from the World psychiatric Association recommending physical health screenings and monitoring in patients with schizophrenia. And further emphasize the need for patients with schizophrenia and their family members to be educated about the possibility of cardio-metabolic risk.”  I am already thinking about the changes I am going to have to make. It will be good because I want to do it for myself.


  1. Diet and exercise are key to gaining better health and losing weight safely and healthfully. Many folks on a Paleo, primitive, natural foods-type diet talk of losing major pounds ("It just fell off!"), having blood pressure normalize, abnormally high cholesterol readings plummet, and get better, more stable energy, plus endurance.

    OK, I went on a high-fat diet myself and it was transformative, with fewer carbs of the cheap, grainy nature and as a whole. Like a lot of others, we are rediscovering what real food is. Paleo type diets mean eating plants and animals & getting away from carbohydrate junk. Also, eating more healthy, animal and plant source fats, which help digestion, aid neuro-regulation and provide more stable blood sugar.

    I am a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner who studies extensively and intensively how our digestion, hormone (endocrine), blood sugar, mineral, hydration and other systems work with proper foods and nutritional inputs from supplements when necessary or called for.

    I also emphasize moving the body daily, multiple times daily, getting outside, etc. Some good exercise you can do. Some psychiatric medications increase appetite and alter metabolism in ways that can slow it down, whereas nutrients can boost metabolism naturally and healthfully, even while taking meds.

    I do not support any sort of gimmicks, strange compounds, caffeinated pills, or weird diet but just working with a person's unique system to give it what it needs to heal and become healthier.

    Our most important systems often need dietary and/or supplemental support to recover better the balance & energy desired, Without knowing what is really healthy for us and what specific nutrients are called for individually, we can struggle for years or even a lifetime, tragically, without making the kind of progress that is possible or needed, such as the ability to think clearly, relax, have energy to do things, and be able to sleep, exercise, or read.

    Mental inputs, thoughts, and promptings are important but we need the physical foundations of health through good metabolism and energy balance to achieve our optimum daily results.

    OK, that may sound involved or genereal, but it's really important how our bodies and various organ systems work and if we CAN work (be employed or volunteer at we want to do).

    However, rebuilding healthy digestion, good diet, & accomplishing internal healing, while certainly exciting at times, often fun or challenging, can take time.

    The psychiatric and medical fields are fairly to very unschooled on how the human body works vis-a-vis nutrition, plus how good nutrition can prevent or reverse most illnesses while poor nutrition predisposes us to sickness and deficiency syndromes.

    Without using a more fine-tuned nutritional approach, 'recovery' may be hard, impossible, or very inefficient. We are physical people after all. The mental is important but often just follows our body's natural state, strengths, needs, deficiencies, potentials, energy levels. etc.

    I lost ~5-7% of my body weight after going on a higher-fat, lower-carb diet. You could probably lose some serious weight with it as well. Nutritional Therapy Practitioners work with people on these sorts of issues--it's our livelihood but getting covered by insurance still needs to be done, an ongoing challenge.

    There are many good, tasty nutritional ways to lose weight safely. My name is Chris Foulke and I live in Corvallis. I hope people can find the help they need rather than having to hunt around on their own for what works or to get legitimate health care practitioners who can help them build health and not just reduce the worst symptoms.


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  3. Hi Charles, I wish you all the best in changing your lifestyle. If you want to do it for yourself, you will make it! Look for those activities you really want to do! Good luck! Regards, Davy Vancampfort, UPC KUL campus Kortenberg