Young adults with mental disorders are up to three times more likely to have a heart attack or stroke, according to a study published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology.
Over 6.5 million people aged 20 to 39 were included in the study. Of those, 13.1% had at least one mental disorder, including anxiety, depression, and insomnia.
The researchers found that lifestyle behaviors did not explain the increased risk of cardiovascular disease in those with mental disorders.
Regular health check-ups and medication
Study author Professor Eue-Keun Choi of Seoul National University College of Medicine, Republic of Korea, suggests that young adults with mental disorders should receive regular health check-ups and medication if appropriate to prevent myocardial infarction and stroke.
While lifestyle behaviors did not explain the excess cardiovascular risk, he adds that lifestyle modification should be recommended to young adults with mental disorders to boost heart health.
The study used the Korean National Health Insurance Service (NHIS) database, which covers the country’s entire population.
The average age of the participants was 31 years, and over half were aged 30 or older. Participants were followed until December 2018 for new-onset myocardial infarction and stroke.
Nearly half of the participants with mental disorders had anxiety, over one in five had depression, and one in five had insomnia.
The researchers found that the risk of myocardial infarction was elevated for all mental disorders studied, with the magnitude ranging from 1.49 to 3.13-fold.
Each condition was also analyzed separately, with the risk of myocardial infarction ranging from 1.49 to 3.13 times higher than in those without mental disorders.
The risk of stroke was elevated for all mental health issues except PTSD and eating disorders.
Age and sex
Depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, and personality disorder were associated with higher risks of myocardial infarction for participants in their 20s compared with those in their 30s.
The researchers also found that depression and insomnia were linked with greater risks of heart attack and stroke in women than men.
Patients with mental health problems are known to have a shorter life expectancy than the general population, with the majority of deaths due to physical illnesses.
The study shows that many young adults have at least one mental health problem, which may increase their risk of heart attack and stroke.
Future research should examine the cardiovascular benefits of managing psychological problems and monitoring heart health in this vulnerable group.
In conclusion, the study highlights the importance of regular health check-ups and appropriate medication for young adults with mental disorders to prevent myocardial infarction and stroke.
Although lifestyle behaviors did not explain the excess risk, lifestyle modification should be recommended to improve heart health.
Healthcare professionals should also monitor and manage psychological problems to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.
If you care about heart health, please read studies about the best time to take vitamins to prevent heart disease, and flu and COVID vaccines may increase heart disease risk.
For more information about health, please see recent studies about how drinking milk affects risks of heart disease and cancer, and results showing DASH diet is good for your blood pressure, and vegetable diet may reduce heart disease risk.
The study was published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology.
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