Most people view cardiovascular disease as an ailment reserved for the aged or an unfortunate turn of events for someone with a heart defect. However, the American Heart Association has identified a new group of people as being at moderate risk for cardiovascular disease. That group consists of teens with bipolar disorder and major depression.
The National Institute of Mental Health estimates that approximately 11% of teens suffer from major depressive episodes, while about 1% qualify for a diagnosis of bi-polar disorder. Since teens are not usually monitored for ailments such as CVD, the disease can be all-the-more dangerous for depressed or bi-polar teens. The AHA is urging doctors and families of such teens, to be aware of the risks and to monitor their teens carefully.
In a 2011 study, a survey of 7,000 young adults, under age thirty, showed that an ongoing history of depression or attempted suicide, “was the number one risk factor for heart disease death caused by narrowed/clogged arteries in young women, and the number 4 risk factor in young men.”
Scientists have also identified these other CVD-related risk factors in affected teens:
- high blood pressure and cholesterol
- hardening of the arteries
- type 2 diabetes
Unfortunately, researchers have not been able to pin down the particular correlation between mood disorders and cardiovascular disease. However, it may attribute, in part, to the lifestyles such teens lead. For instance, teens with depression and bi-polar disorder are more likely to smoke and abuse drug and alcohol as a coping mechanism. Researchers also postulate that there may be a biological propensity toward damaged cells and tissues in teens with mood disorders.
For more information on this new discovery, or other CVD related issues, contact us.