This study examined the prevalence of risk factors for cardiovascular (CV)-related morbidity and mortality in young people with psychosis aged 18 to 24 years.
The study included 132 people aged 18 to 24 years who participated in the 2010 second Australian national survey of people living with psychosis. The 2009 World Health Organisation (WHO) Global Health Risks report was used as a framework to determine which specific risk factors were present in each in these young people. The risk factors assessed in this study were smoking, alcohol use, hypertension, overweight/obesity, physical inactivity, high blood glucose, high cholesterol and poor diet. Each risk factor was defined according to WHO criteria. A count of the total number of risk factors present for each participant was determined. Data for male and female participants were compared.
Young men had an average of 2.9 (SD 1.2) risk factors. Young women had an average of 2.4 (SD 1.2) risk factors. The most common risk factors were low fruit and vegetable intake (77.9%), cigarette smoking (67.7%), overweight/obesity (55%) and physical inactivity (39.8%). There were no significant differences between men and women in the number of risk factors present, or the prevalence of individual risk factors.
This study demonstrated that many of the risk factors that ultimately contribute to disability and premature death are present at an early age in people with psychosis. Preventive measures need to be an integral component of early intervention services for this client population to avert progression to serious CV morbidity and early mortality.