Is cerebrovascular disease a silent condition in patients with chronic schizophrenia-related disorders?

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Abstract

Patients with chronic schizophrenia-related disorders are at a heightened risk of developing cardiovascular disease. The presence and interpretation of cerebral vascular lesions in neuroimaging tests in these patients represents a common clinical challenge. Nevertheless, the literature on cerebrovascular disease in this population is scarce and contradictory. The aim of this study was to analyse the relationship between schizophrenia-related disorders and cerebrovascular morbidity. A case–control study compared cerebrovascular morbidity in a group of patients with schizophrenia-related disorder versus a group of patients with another severe mental illness. The risk of presenting cerebrovascular morbidity was four times higher and statistically significant in patients with schizophrenia-related disorders compared with controls, paired by age and sex. However, both groups were homogeneous in terms of cardiovascular risk factors. There were significant differences between the two groups only in the time using first-generation antipsychotic drugs and taking two or more antipsychotic medications simultaneously. The relationship between chronic schizophrenia-related disorders and cerebrovascular disease may be beyond the classic cardiovascular risk factors and related to certain medications. This is one of the first studies to focus on the relation among cerebrovascular morbidity, antipsychotic drugs and disorders related to schizophrenia in middle-aged and elderly adults.

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