African Journal of Psychiatry

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The prevalence of metabolic syndrome and its associated factors in long-term patients in a specialist psychiatric hospital in South Africa

K Maaroganye, M Mohapi, C Krüger, P Rheeder


Objective: The aims of this study were to determine the prevalence of metabolic disorders in long-term psychiatric patients, and the relationship between known risk factors and these metabolic disorders.
Method: All psychiatric in-patients ≥18 years, who had been admitted ≥six months were invited to participate. Eighty-four patients participated. They were interviewed, examined, measured and blood tests conducted to determine several demographic and clinical variables including age, gender, weight, blood pressure and fasting blood glucose.
Results: The prevalence of the metabolic disorders were: metabolic syndrome 32%, hypertension 32%, diabetes mellitus 8%, cholesterol dyslipidaemia 32%, triglyceride dyslipidaemia 29%, low density lipoprotein (LDL) dyslipidaemia 50%, overweight 37%, and obesity 24%. Black African and female patients were more likely to have metabolic syndrome. Female patients were more likely to have cholesterol dyslipidaemia and obesity. Hypertension was associated with age. Ninety-six percent of patients with dyslipidaemia were newly diagnosed during the study. Three out of the seven previously diagnosed diabetic patients had raised fasting blood glucose levels.
Conclusion: The prevalence of metabolic syndrome falls towards the lower limits of the expected prevalence rate. Race and gender showed a moderate statistical association with metabolic syndrome. There is a lack of screening for dyslipidaemia in this setting. Diabetic patients should be referred to specialist diabetic clinics for better monitoring and control.

Keywords: Metabolic syndrome; Psychiatric patients; Risk factors; Prevalence; South Africa

African Journal of Psychiatry • November 2013, 16(6)
AJOL African Journals Online