Risk of heart diseases increases at younger ages among nearly 600,000 US adults with serious mental illnesses as per a study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association open access, peer-reviewed journal of the American Heart Association.
“Previous research has indicated that people diagnosed with a serious mental illness die 10-20 years earlier than the general population, and their leading cause of death is heart disease. Our study focused on the contribution of cardiovascular risk factors, such as blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar, body mass index and smoking status, to compare overall heart disease risk for people with and without serious mental illness,” says study lead author Rebecca C. Rossom, M.D., M.S., a senior research investigator in behavioral health at the Center for Chronic Care Innovation at HealthPartners Institute in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
‘Large number of people diagnosed with mental illnesses like bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, or schizoaffective disorder are found to have a higher risk of cardiovascular disease at younger ages.’
Among the study population, 70% were diagnosed with bipolar disorder, 18% with schizoaffective disorder and 12% with schizophrenia. The team used Framingham Risk Score to assess 10-year atherosclerotic cardiovascular risk.
“Even at younger ages, people with serious mental illness had a higher risk of heart disease than their peers, which highlights the importance of addressing cardiovascular risk factors for these individuals as early as possible. Interventions to address heart disease risk for these individuals are maximally beneficial when initiated at younger ages,” says Rossom.