Bipolar Disorder and Depression May Raise Risk of Heart Disease in Teens


According to a recent statement released by the American Heart Association, major depression and bipolar disorder can place teenagers at a higher than average risk for heart disease and it should be considered as independent risk factors for the disease.

Old Research

In previously conducted research, mood disorders were associated with the risk factors related to heart problems. In February of 2014, the Medical News Today published a report on a study that claimed depression is a causative factor for coronary heart disease in adults.

Dr. Benjamin I Goldstein is a leading child-adolescent psychiatrist at the University of Toronto in Canada, as well as at the Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre. Dr. Goldstein is the lead author of the study and he and his team examined published research that examined the possibility of heart disease among youngsters with mood disorders.

The team found that teens who had major depression or bipolar disorder were more likely to have a number of risk factors for heart disease. These risk factors included; hypertension, high cholesterol, type 2 diabetes, atherosclerosis and obesity. The information was compared to teens who did not have these mood disorders.

The increased cardiovascular risk factors that the team identified among youngsters with major depression or bipolar disorder were not completely explained by other factors like lack of exercise, smoking and drug abuse, according to the author.
While the medications prescribed for mood disorders is associated with high cholesterol, weight gain, hypertension and increased blood sugar levels, the team noted a majority of the teenagers involved in the study were not taking these medications.

Dr. Goldstein and his team were not able to explain the organic reasons behind these findings, but they point to studies done in the past that have linked adolescent mood disorders with higher levels of inflammation and other types of cell damage.

Early Action is Required

According to information released by the National Institute of Mental Health, in 2012, approximately 2.2 million teenagers in America aged 12-17 had an episode of major depression within the past year. Based on these findings, Dr. Goldstein and his team concluded major depression and bipolar disorder should be categorized as moderate risk factors for heart disease in teens.

Dr. Goldstein stated the following,” 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 a better cardiovascular outcome. These disorders indicate an increased risk of heart disease that requires increased vigilance and action at the earliest possible stage.”

It is the hopes of Dr. Goldstein that the statement will make adolescents, their families and health care practitioners prompted to take early precautions against the risks of heart disease.

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