Teens with Bipolar Disorder and Depression at Greater Risk of Heart Disease

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Heart Disease in TeensA new study published in the journal Circulation suggests that teens with major depression and bipolar disorder have a higher number or risk factors for heart disease, such as obesity, type 2 diabetes, atherosclerosis, high cholesterol, and hypertension.

Researchers came to this conclusion after analyzing published research that investigated the risk of heart disease for adolescents with mood disorders.

The team notes that the majority of teenagers were not receiving medication for mood disorders—these types of medication are typically associated with weight gain, hypertension, high cholesterol, and increased blood sugar levels.

Researchers didn’t explain the biological causes behind their findings, but noted previous studies that have associated adolescent mood disorders with increased inflammation and other forms of cell damage.

The study’s lead author Dr. Benjamin I. Goldstein concludes that bipolar and depression factors need to be classified as risk factors for heart disease in teenagers.

“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 says. “These disorders indicate an increased risk of heart disease that requires increased vigilance and action at the earliest possible stage.”

The National Institute of Mental Health reported that in 2012, about 2.2 million American teenagers between the ages of 12 and 17 had major depressive episodes in the previous year. According to a 2012 study, 2.5% of U.S. adolescents between the ages of 13 and 18 have met the criteria for bipolar disorder in their lifetime.

Source for Today’s Article:
Benjamin I. G., et al., “Major depressive disorder and bipolar disorder predispose youth to accelerated atherosclerosis and early cardiovascular disease,” Circulation, published online August 10, 2015.  http://circ.ahajournals.org/content/early/2015/08/10/CIR.0000000000000229.abstract
Whiteman, H., “Teens with depression, bipolar at greater risk of heart disease,” Medical News Today web site, August 11, 2015; http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/297953.php.

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