According to a statement from the American Heart Association depressed adolescents face higher heart disease risks. It looks like adolescents who are very depressed or who suffer from a bipolar disease face an increased heart disease risk and might need intervention in the early stages in order to prevent it.
Chairman of the committee that issued the statement, Dr. Benjamin I. Goldstein from the Sunnybrook Health Sciences Center from Toronto said that they expect that the report itself to come as a surprise for most people. He added that this is precisely what makes the report so potentially impactful and important. It uses an under-appreciated and mostly unrecognized total of evidence in order to put it right in the middle of the action.
The coauthors of the study along with Goldstein said that depression affects around 9 percent of all the adolescents in the United States. Bipolar disorder, which is the fourth most devastating condition, affects around 2.6 percent of adolescents in the United States.
The National Institute of Mental Health said that people who suffer from major depression have consistent symptoms that intervene with their ability to enjoy life, eat, study, sleep and work. In the bipolar disease, individuals have mood swings that go between extreme highs to extreme lows.
Goldstein and his team analyzed data from the American Heart Association’s Council on Cardiovascular Disease in the Young. The team reported that even though the connection between heart disease and these conditions is a little limited, the available information shows an important increase in heart disease risk factors among adolescents who suffer from bipolar disorder or major depression.
The risk factors include unhealthy cholesterol levels, high blood pressure and obesity.
Factors that are very common in adolescents who suffer from bipolar disorder or depression, such as smoking, physical inactivity, sleep disorders and childhood maltreatment may also contribute to a greater risk of heart disease. The statement said that even the treatment used against these kinds of conditions could cause a gain in weight and other metabolic changes that lead to an increased heart disease risk.
Prevention methods should mostly focus on maintaining a normal blood pressure and healthy weight, normal levels of blood sugar and healthy cholesterol levels. And the first step towards these targets is focusing on regular physical activity, a healthy diet and weight loss, if necessary.
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