A new study explains a decline in mental health with an increase in heart disease risk

A new study explains a decline in mental health with an increase in heart disease risk ...

Heart disease, also called cardiovascular disease, is a group of illnesses that affect the heart and blood vessels in many ways, including coronary artery disease, heart attacks, and heart failure.

Researchers from Johns Hopkins Medicine found that young adults who suffer depression are at a higher risk of developing cardiovascular disease (CVD) and poor heart health. These findings add to the growing body of evidence linking depression and CVD in young and middle-aged adults.

Young adults who reported depressed or poor mental health were more likely to experience heart attacks, strokes, and other risk factors for heart disease than their peers who had good mental health, according to a recent research.

"You may feel overwhelmed, or your heart rate and blood pressure rise," says Garima Sharma, M.B.S., an associate professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins Medicine and senior author of the study.

Sharma and her colleagues studied data from 593,616 people who participated in the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, a self-reported, nationally representative survey conducted between 2017 and 2020. The questionnaire asked participants whether or not they had ever been told they had a depressive disorder, how many days they had experienced poor mental health in the past month (0 days, 1–13 days or 14–30 days), and whether or not they had suffered a heart attack, stroke, or chest pain.

High blood pressure, high cholesterol, being overweight/obey, smoking, diabetes, and inadequate physical activity and diet are all risk factors.

The majority of adults in the United States who experienced depression or anxiety rose from 33.6 percent to 41.5 percent during the first year of the epidemic, especially among people aged 18 to 29.

Participants who reported up to 13 poor mental health days in the previous 30 days had 1.5 times higher odds of CVD compared with those who reported 14 or more days of poor mental health.

“Our study underscores the importance of mental health among young adults and increase monitoring and screening for heart disease among people with mental health disorders and vice versa.”

Kwapong claims that this new research provides only a glimpse into cardiovascular health among youngsters with depression, and that future investigations must investigate how depression affects cardiovascular health over time.

Yaa A. Kwapong, Ellen Boakye, Sadiya S. Khan, Seth S. Martin, Chigolum P. Oyeka, Allison G. Hays, Pradeep Natarajan, Mamas A. Mamas, Roger S. Blumenthal, Michael J. Blaha, and Garima Sharma, Journal of the American Heart Association, 23 January 2023. DOI: 10.1161/JAHA.122.028332

The American Heart Association provided a portion of the research.

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