The American Heart Association (AHA) has stated that teenagers that suffer from major depression or bipolar disease have an increased risk of heart disease.
Dr. Benjamin Goldstein from Sunnybrook Health Sciences Center in Toronto, who chaired the committee that issued the report, suggested that those who suffer from the above conditions have other severe symptoms that can interfere with normal life, such as ability to work, sleep, eat and study, while the mood changes force extreme highs and lows.
The research team, through examination of a large pool of data, found that heart disease and mental health problems were linked, with obesity, high blood pressure and higher cholesterol levels all occurring more regularly.
Other factors linked to increased heart disease risk include sleep disorder, smoking and physical inactivity.
Speaking to Reuters Health, Dr Goldstein said: “We expect that the statement itself will come as quite a surprise to most. This is precisely what makes the statement so important and potentially impactful; it takes a largely unrecognised and under-appreciated body of evidence, and positions it squarely on centre stage."
Dr Goldstein added that prevention efforts should include a focus on healthy weight, analysing blood sugar and pressure, and generally making more sensible lifestyle choices. It is important that we stop looking at physical and mental health as separate entities, especially at a time when there is still much stigma put around talking about mental disorders. With cardiac disease being so chronic, researchers are keen to focus on young people, so that condition, which often begins in youth, can be delayed, slowed down or even prevented.
The findings have been published in the journal Circulation.
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