Bipolar disorder (BD) is a mental health disorder which leads to unusual changes in mood and activity and energy levels thus affecting an individual’s ability to perform their daily activities. It is characterized by mood swings ranging from periods of extreme depression to periods of extreme elation and energized behavior.
Apart from effecting a person mentally, bipolar disorder can also affect a person physically as corroborated by a recent study. The cross-sectional study observed that the rate of insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome in patients recently diagnosed with bipolar disorder were much higher compared to the normal population. Metabolic syndrome is a group of complications that increases the risk of heart diseases and type 2 diabetes in an individual. These complications include obesity, high blood pressure, dyslipidemia and increase in fasting glucose.
Approaches to study
The data for the study was obtained from Bipolar Illness Onset Study, which enlisted BD patients from the area of greater Copenhagen, Denmark. Upon receiving the patients’ approval, the researchers invited first degree relatives of the patients who were not affected by BD to be a part of the study. Some other gender and age matching healthy people were also recruited for the study from a local blood donor center of the city.
The participants were made to undergo a battery of laboratory and clinical tests where patients with existing BD were evaluated to determine the severity of their condition, use of their medications, and the treatment program they were currently undergoing.
Resistance to insulin and the prevalence rate of metabolic syndrome of all the three groups were compared. Insulin resistance was calculated from fasting plasma glucose and also according to the insulin level as per the homeostasis model of insulin resistance.
The study group comprised of 206 participants who were recently diagnosed with bipolar disorder, 109 controls and 50 of their immediate relatives. Most of the patients with BD had been diagnosed with BD within the previous two years.
According to the results, metabolic syndrome was observed in:
- 15 percent of the patients with BD
- 6 percent of their relatives without BD
- 5 percent of the healthy individuals
After adjustments according to gender and age were made it was found that patients with BD had 3.5 percent more chances of metabolic syndrome as compared to the healthy participants. No difference was noticed between the unaffected relatives and the healthy participants.
The observed insulin resistance values were as follows:
- 06 in patients with BD
- 10 in the unaffected relatives
- 73 in the healthy participants
After adjustments according to gender and age were made it was found that patients with BD had a greater insulin resistance value as compared to the healthy participants.
It was also observed that when smoking and use of alcohol was taken into consideration, the differences for both the above mentioned parameters were reduced significantly to reach a minimum difference.
With the help of the study, it was found that screening for insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome in BD patients was important to reduce the risk of heart diseases and early death. It was also found that smoking increased the chances of these conditions, hence it was important to stop smoking to prevent insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome problems.
Treatment for bipolar disorder
Bipolar disorder is a lifelong condition. Hence, it is important to explore available resources to match the treatment of bipolar disorder and ease the suffering of the patient. Bipolar disorder, like any other problem, can be treated through timely intervention. With the right treatment, medication, and proper care, patients can resume normal life and live a healthy and productive life as before.
If you or your loved one is suffering from bipolar disorder or any other mental health problem, contact the California Mental Health Helpline for information on bipolar treatment centers in Los Angeles offering comprehensive treatment programs. Call us at our 24/7 helpline number 855-559-3923 or chat online with our specialists to get advice on the best mental health facilities in California.