Korean researchers have found that Asian patients with bipolar disorder are at increased risk for metabolic syndrome.
Findings from the study align with growing concerns about the co-morbidity of metabolic syndrome and bipolar disorder. Researchers noted that “this study is the first report of the prevalence of metabolic syndrome in Korean patients with medication for bipolar disorder and can provide a reference point for comparisons with other studies, especially on Asian populations.”
Researchers added that more than 15 studies about the prevalence of metabolic syndrome in bipolar patients have been conducted since 2005 — most in Western countries.
Currently, statistics suggest that one in five people are characterized by the syndrome with greater prevalence occurring as populations age.
Lead researcher Yong Min Ahn of the Seoul National University College of Medicine and team noted that “in recent years, metabolic syndrome has emerged as an important concern in both psychiatry and public health, as it constitutes a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease and diabetes in both Western and Asian countries.”
Research was conducted using cross-sectional data from the medical records of patients with bipolar disorder presenting at the psychiatric clinic in Seoul National University Hospital from 2007 to 2008. From the data, researchers identified 152 patients between the ages of 18 and 65 for the study.
A control group of 152 individuals without the mood disorder was also drawn from patients presenting at the hospital’s Health Promotion Center during the same timeframe. The control group was identified to match the socioeconomic status, age, and gender of the bipolar patients.
Assessments were conducted based on criteria from the American Heart Association and the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute’s adaptation of the Adult Treatment Panel III (AHA), the National Cholesterol Education Program for Adult Treatment Panel III (ATPIII), and the International Diabetes Federation (IDF).
Researchers also used the Fourth Korean National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (KNHNES, 2007) to calculate the indirectly standardized prevalence ratio (ISPR) for the metabolic syndrome in the Korean population.
Findings concluded that the prevalence of metabolic syndrome in the bipolar patients was 27.0%, 25.0% and 25.7% using the AHA, ATPIII, and IDF criteria, respectively. The control group presented much lower at at 13.2%, 11.8%, and 11.8%, respectively.
Based on the same criteria using the AHA, ATPIII and IDF, the researchers found the ISPR for the metabolic syndrome in the Korean population was 1.48, 1.54, and 1.98, respectively.
The team concluded that “regardless of how metabolic syndrome is defined, its prevalence in patients with bipolar disorder is higher than in both the control group… and the general Korean population.”
The findings of the study can be found in the journal Progress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology and Biological Psychiatry.