Researchers find a link between poor mental health and risks of heart disease in young adults


eMediNexus    31 January 2023

A study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association found that young adults between the ages of 18 and 49 who self-reported feeling depressed or having days with poor mental health had higher rates of heart attacks, strokes, and risk factors for heart disease than their peers who did not have mental health issues.


Dr. Garima Sharma and her colleagues evaluated data from 593,616 persons participating in the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, a self-reported, nationally representative survey performed between 2017 and 2020. The survey asked participants whether they had ever been told they had a depressive disorder, how many days (0, 1-13, or 14-30) in the previous month, they had experienced poor mental health, whether they had ever had a heart attack, stroke, or chest pain, and whether they had any risk factors for cardiovascular disease (CVD).


The risk factors included high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol, being overweight or obese, smoking, having diabetes, having an unhealthy diet, and level of physical activity. Individuals with two or more risk factors were thought to have poor cardiovascular health.


The study found that one in five people′s self-reported experiencing depression or frequently feeling low. It was noted that rates were greater in the last year of the study, which was the first year of the COVID-19 epidemic.


Overall, the study found a strong correlation between CVD and poor heart health among those who self-reported feeling depressed for multiple days. Participants who reported up to 13 days of poor mental health had a 1.5-fold increased risk of CVD compared to those who reported no such days in the previous 30 days. Those who said 14 or more days had a doubled increased risk. Neither gender nor the distinction between urban and rural areas significantly impacted the associations between poor mental health and CVD.


Experts stated that both depression and heart disease raise the risk of developing heart problems. Hence, it is crucial to focus on the mental health of young adults and enhance CVD screening and monitoring them and vice versa to improve the hearts overall health.


(Source:  https://health.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/diagnostics/researchers-reveal-how-depression-poor-mental-health-connected-with-heart-disease-risks-among-young-adults/97476117)

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