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Risk factors for coronary heart disease among inpatients who have mild intellectual disability and mental illness


Dr Camilla Haw, Consultant Psychiatrist, St. Andrew's Hospital, Billing Road, Northampton NN1 5DG, UK (e-mail:


Background  Coronary heart disease (CHD) is a major cause of morbidity and mortality in the UK. The aim of this study was to screen inpatients with mild or borderline intellectual disability, many of whom also have mental illness, for risk factors for CHD.

Methods  Cross sectional survey. Participants were interviewed, measured and had blood samples taken.

Results  Of the 53 participants, 20 (37.7%) were overweight and 18 (34.0%) obese. The mean body mass index (BMI) of those participants prescribed regular antipsychotics was higher than those who were not. Nine (20.9%) had waist circumference measurements placing them at increased risk of CHD and 21 (48.8%) were at substantially increased risk. Twenty-eight (52.8%) were current smokers. Of the 49 participants who had their blood pressure measured, 3 (6.1%) had readings above the reference range. Of the 19 participants who had random blood tests, one (5.3%) had an elevated cholesterol level.

Conclusions  In this population there was a high prevalence of two risk factors for CHD (obesity and smoking), requiring ongoing monitoring and long-term measures to reduce risk.