Age-specific prevalence of metabolic syndrome in Italian patients with bipolar disorder


Giuseppe Maina, MD, Mood and Anxiety Disorders Unit, Via Cherasco 11, 10100 Torino, Italy. Email:


Aim:  Metabolic syndrome (MetS) is highly prevalent in patients with bipolar disorder (BD). Little research has evaluated the risk profile of MetS and cardiovascular disease in different gender and age groups in these patients. Our aim is to evaluate the prevalence of MetS in Italian patients with BD stratified by gender and age, and to determine the correlates of MetS.

Methods:  Subjects with BD were included and stratified by sex and age according to the following age groups: <30; 30–39; 40–49; 50–59; ≥60 years. Socio-demographic and clinical characteristics, lifestyle information, and comorbidity for cardiovascular diseases and diabetes were collected. MetS was diagnosed according to National Cholesterol Education Program Adult Treatment Panel III modified criteria.

Results:  MetS was evaluated in 200 patients, with a prevalence of 26.5%. Men had higher rates of hypertension and hypertriglyceridemia, women had more abdominal obesity. Women had a peak of prevalence in the ≥60 years group, while men displayed high rates even in the young age groups. In young patients, MetS was associated with Cluster B personality disorders and less physical exercise.

Conclusion:  Our paper highlights the importance of evaluating MetS even in young patients with bipolar disorder, especially males. The strong association with lack of physical exercise suggests that the implementation of healthy behaviors might be relevant in order to prevent MetS and future adverse cardiovascular outcomes.