Depressed teenagers at greater heart disease risk

New York, Aug 11 (IANS) Major depressive disorder and bipolar disorder predispose youth to early cardiovascular disease, the American Heart Association (AHA) has said.

The AHA statement is based on a group of recent studies including those that reported cardiovascular events such as heart attacks and deaths among young people.

For example, a 2011 population study of over 7,000 young adults in the US under the age of 30, found that depression or an attempted suicide was the No.1 risk factor for heart disease death caused by narrowed/clogged arteries in young women, and the No.4 risk factor in young men.

“Youth with mood disorders are not yet widely recognised as a group at increased risk for excessive and early heart disease. We hope these guidelines will spur action from patients, families and healthcare providers to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease among these youth,” said Benjamin I. Goldstein, lead author of the statement.

Since cardiovascular disease may begin early in life, the authors want to increase awareness and recognition of mood disorders among young people as moderate-risk conditions for early cardiovascular disease.

After systematically analysing published research, the authors found that teens with major depression or bipolar disorder are more likely than other teens to have several cardiovascular disease risk factors including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity and type-2 diabetes.

“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,” Goldstein, a child-adolescent psychiatrist, said.

The findings were published in Circulation, a journal of the American Heart Association.

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