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Hosted by Editor in Chief Lorenzo Norris, MD, Psychcast features mental health care professionals discussing the issues that most affect psychiatry.

Jul 6, 2021

In this episode, Dr. Rakesh Jain and Dr. Andrew Cutler review the pathophysiology and comorbidities in patients with schizophrenia and explore how serious mental illnesses (SMIs) may affect the whole patient. They also discuss the potential dysfunction that may be present across multiple symptoms in patients with schizophrenia based on evidence from antipsychotic-naïve patients.


When considering physical comorbidities—including infectious, respiratory, metabolic, and cardiovascular diseases—in patients with SMI, including schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, multiple studies have reported an increased prevalence compared with the general population.

There may be dysfunction across cardiometabolic, immune, and endocrine systems in patients with schizophrenia—whether we see elevation of certain blood cytokines or an imbalance between adiponectin and pro-inflammatory cytokines, this may contribute to a persistent cycle of obesity and inflammation.

There are opportunities to improve whole patient care through comprehensive management of comorbidities and behavioral risk factors that may be present in patients living with SMIs like schizophrenia. For example, efforts to enhance tobacco smoking cessation, given over half of people with schizophrenia smoke and smoking is a known risk factor for cardiovascular disease, may involve behavioral interventions and cognitive behavioral therapy that have shown promise for smokers with SMIs.


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