Background: During the last decade, evidences have emerged to confirm that the lifestyle and diet of individuals with schizophrenia are compromised in comparison to the general population. Complete blood count is the best tool to demonstrate the prevalence unhealthy lifestyle and poor diet among schizophrenic patients. The objective of this work is to study blood picture of schizophrenic patients in Palestine.
Methods: A cross sectional study was conducted between August 2011 and February 2012 at governmental primary psychiatric health care centers in Northern West-Bank, Palestine. Two hundred and fifty patients were selected by convenience sampling method. A complete blood count was investigated using blood samples. A pretested self-administered questionnaire was used to retrieve personal information about participants. Descriptive statistical methods and regression analysis were used to analyze the data.
Results: It was found that 55.9% of female patients and 13.7% of the male patients suffer from anemia. Regression analysis showed that gender was a significant factor associated with the prevalence of anemia in schizophrenic patients. On the other hand, the majority of patients had normal white blood cells and normal platelets counts.
Conclusion: The prevalence of anemia among schizophrenic patients is a firm finding. The occurrence of anemia could be due to poor food choices and unhealthy lifestyle. Therefore, mental healthcare providers are encouraged to deliver a good care for schizophrenic patients including an appropriate nutritional intervention, social support, and regular blood checkup.