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Effect of lifestyle, medication and ethnicity on cardiometabolic risk in the year following the first episode of psychosis: prospective cohort study

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)712-719
Number of pages8
JournalBritish Journal of Psychiatry
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2019

King's Authors


BACKGROUND: The first episode of psychosis is a critical period in the emergence of cardiometabolic risk.

AIMS: We set out to explore the influence of individual and lifestyle factors on cardiometabolic outcomes in early psychosis.

METHOD: This was a prospective cohort study of 293 UK adults presenting with first-episode psychosis investigating the influence of sociodemographics, lifestyle (physical activity, sedentary behaviour, nutrition, smoking, alcohol, substance use) and medication on cardiometabolic outcomes over the following 12 months.

RESULTS: Rates of obesity and glucose dysregulation rose from 17.8% and 12%, respectively, at baseline to 23.7% and 23.7% at 1 year. Little change was seen over time in the 76.8% tobacco smoking rate or the quarter who were sedentary for over 10 h daily. We found no association between lifestyle at baseline or type of antipsychotic medication prescribed with either baseline or 1-year cardiometabolic outcomes. Median haemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) rose by 3.3 mmol/mol in participants from Black and minority ethnic (BME) groups, with little change observed in their White counterparts. At 12 months, one-third of those with BME heritage exceeded the threshold for prediabetes (HbA1c >39 mmol/mol).

CONCLUSIONS: Unhealthy lifestyle choices are prevalent in early psychosis and cardiometabolic risk worsens over the next year, creating an important window for prevention. We found no evidence, however, that preventative strategies should be preferentially directed based on lifestyle habits. Further work is needed to determine whether clinical strategies should allow for differential patterns of emergence of cardiometabolic risk in people of different ethnicities.

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