OBJECTIVE: Schizophrenia is associated with a shortened life expectancy and increased somatic comorbidity with, e.g., cardiovascular disorders. One major risk factor for these disorders is the metabolic syndrome, which has been reported to have a higher frequency in schizophrenic patients. Our objective was to study the prevalence of metabolic syndrome in a population-based birth cohort. METHOD: The study sample consisted of 5613 members of the Northern Finland 1966 Birth Cohort who participated in the field study from 1997 to 1998. Subjects were divided into 4 diagnostic categories (DSM-III-R): (1) schizophrenia (N = 31), (2) other functional psychoses (N = 22), (3) nonpsychotic disorders (N = 105), and (4) no psychiatric hospital treatment (N = 5455, comparison group). Subjects were assessed for the presence of metabolic syndrome according to the criteria of the National Cholesterol Education Program. RESULTS: The prevalence of metabolic syndrome was higher in subjects with schizophrenia compared with the comparison group (19% vs. 6%, p = .010). The prevalence of metabolic syndrome in subjects with other psychoses was 5%. After controlling for sex, the results of logistic regression analysis showed that the risk of metabolic syndrome in schizophrenia was 3.7 (95% CI = 1.5 to 9.0). CONCLUSIONS: The high prevalence of metabolic syndrome in schizophrenia even at such a relatively young age underscores the need to select antipsychotic medications with no or little capability to induce metabolic side effects. Also, developing comprehensive efforts directed at controlling weight and diet and improving physical activity are needed.
OBJECTIVE: Evaluation was done of a possible link between psychiatric and physical illnesses in suicide victims 25 years of age or younger. METHODS: This was a follow-up study based on a 13-year database (n = 1,585) of all suicides committed during the years 1988 to 2000 in northern Finland with linkage to national hospital discharge registers. The setting for the study was the province of Oulu, located in northern Finland. Subjects comprised 202 male and 27 female suicide victims aged 25 years or less. RESULTS: Despite the young age of the suicide victims, lifetime prevalence of physical illness was about 70% in both males and females. In relation to mental disorders, female suicide victims were affected significantly more (45%) than their male counterparts (21%). About 27% of the subjects with physical illnesses had also suffered from mental disorders, but the respective proportion among those without any physical illness was only 7%. An increased prevalence of mental disorders was found in victims with diseases of the skin and subcutaneous tissues, musculoskeletal, respiratory, and digestive systems. Furthermore, increased incidences of mental disorders were also noticed in connection with injuries, poisonings, and symptoms or signs of infectious diseases. Prevalence of mental disorders in these physical disease categories varied from 25% to 44%. CONCLUSION: We recommend a greater attention to young people with physical illnesses and other symptoms in the hope that such screening may lead to an early recognition of psychiatric disorders and suicidal tendencies.
BACKGROUND: The elderly use more sedatives than other populations. Reports on the sedative load of drugs and their associations with health items are scarce. OBJECTIVE: To investigate the prevalence of sedatives and drugs with sedative properties and the associations between those drugs and demographic or health items in the home-dwelling elderly in a cross-sectional community survey. METHODS: Information was obtained from 1197 persons (43% men) aged >or=64 years in the Finnish municipality of Lieto in 1998-1999. The brand names of the prescription drugs taken by each interviewee during one week prior to the interview were recorded. The classification created in a previous study, where the drugs used in Finland were divided into 4 groups by their sedative properties, was utilized to determine associations with health items. RESULTS: A total of 88% (n = 1056) of the participants used some drug. Forty percent (n = 422 persons) of the drug users took sedatives or drugs with sedative properties. The oldest individuals (>or=80 y), women, those with low education, smokers, those with poor self-perceived health, people with dementia and mobility problems, and especially those with depression had an independent association with the simultaneous use of many (>or=2) sedatives or drugs with sedative properties. CONCLUSIONS: In a population of home-dwelling elderly patients, abundant sedative drug use was common and especially associated with high age, female gender, poor basic education, poor health habits (eg, smoking), depression, dementia, or impaired mobility. Users also had poor self-perceived health. The need to further develop the classification will be a major challenge, and the classification needs to be updated every year. More studies are needed in this field.