Metabolic syndrome (MetS) and its component factors, obesity, hypertension, dyslipidaemia and insulin resistance, have shown a bidirectional relationship with the prevalence and severity of bipolar disorder (BD). A systematic search of electronic databases (Pubmed, PsycINFO, was conducted to explore and integrate current evidence about the role of MetS and its component factors with clinical outcomes of BD. Thirty-four articles met the inclusion criteria. Studies were grouped by the metabolic factors assessed, which included MetS, obesity and body mass index (BMI), dyslipidaemia, impaired glucose metabolism (IGM), diabetes mellitus and hypertension. They were then classified according to outcomes such as course of episodes, rapid cycling, suicidal behavior, treatment response, and global and cognitive functioning. Although current evidence remains controversial in most aspects of clinical outcomes, metabolic risk factors could alter the course of BD, with worse global functioning, poorer treatment response and a chronic course of illness, as well as enhancing rapid cycling. Further research is needed to elucidate the role of each risk factor in the mentioned outcomes.
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