Physical Health Monitoring And Schizophrenia

Physical Health Monitoring And Schizophrenia

Schizophrenia is a mental disorder (or a group of disorders) characterized by abnormalities in the perception or expression of reality.

Schizophrenia is caused due to imbalance of dopamine in the brain and may have genetic cause. People with schizophrenia have higher risk of medical illness like diabetes, heart disease and hypertension than does the general population of the same age and same physical condition.

People with schizophrenia die prematurely. Their illness, its treatments and their lifestyles (e.g. poor dietary habits, obesity, sedentary lifestyle and increased consumption of alcohol and smoking) predisposes them to poor physical and mental health.

There is strong relation between severe mental health and poor physical health. Health of schizophrenia patients can be improved by regular monitoring of physical health that occurs in psychiatric settings. People with schizophrenia are less likely to report physical symptoms spontaneously compared to other patients group. But systematic questioning is effective in revealing physical illness in schizophrenic patient’s Primary healthcare professional play an important role in monitoring physical health of schizophrenia patients. They should do so by asking questions to patients and recording their data in case register or computer. Physical health check should pay particular attention to endocrine disorders, such as diabetes and Hyperprolactinaaemia (the presence of abnormally high levels of prolactin in blood), cardiovascular risk factors, such as blood pressure and lipids, respiratory and metabolic disorder and side effects of certain medications and lifestyles factors such as smoking and alcohol. These must be recorded in case registers or computers. The frequency of checks depends on patient’s physical and mental health.

Some of the recommendations made by NICE and NSF for monitoring physical health of schizophrenic patients includes:

  • Annual checking   of blood pressure and sugar levels.
  • Lifestyle advices regarding reducing or quitting smoking/alcohol. Regular physical exercise, if necessary.
  • Annual urine and blood check to exclude the diagnosis of diabetes mellitus.
  • Cholesterol level check.
  • Screening of hepatitis or HIV, if appropriate.
  • Contraceptive advice in case of females.

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Physical Health Monitoring And Schizophrenia