Depressed teenagers 'at higher risk of poor heart health'

Scientific Developments/Breakthroughs

A new study has provided evidence that teenagers with poor mental health are at greater risk of experiencing heart disease in later life.

In an American Heart Association scientific statement, experts have called for early monitoring for heart and blood vessel disease among teens with major depression or bipolar disorder, based on the findings of past research.

“Teens with major depression or bipolar disorder are at higher risk of early heart and blood vessel disease, according to a new study.“

For example, a 2011 population study of more than 7,000 people in the US under the age of 30 found that a history of depression or an attempted suicide was the leading risk factor for heart disease death caused by narrowed or clogged arteries in young women, and the number four risk factor in young men.

Teens with major depression or bipolar disorder have been found to be more likely to have several cardiovascular disease risk factors, including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity, type 2 diabetes and hardening of the arteries.

Lead author Dr Benjamin Goldstein, a child-adolescent psychiatrist at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre and the University of Toronto, said: "Mood disorders are often lifelong conditions, and managing cardiovascular risk early and assertively is tremendously important if we are to be successful in ensuring that the next generation of youth has better cardiovascular outcomes."

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