Youths with major depression or bipolar disorder are at increased risk for CVD

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After reviewing numerous clinical trials, the American Heart Association issued a scientific statement that mentioned children and adolescents with major depressive disorder or bipolar disorder are at increased risk for cardiovascular diseases later in life. The statement was published online in Circulation on Aug. 10.

Lead author Benjamin Goldstein, MD, PhD, of the University of Toronto, and colleagues noted that approximately 10 percent of adolescents in the U.S. have major depressive disorder or bipolar disorder.

They classified major depressive disorder and bipolar disorder as moderate-risk conditions, which they defined as conditions for which “the disease process has been shown to be associated with pathologic, physiologic, or subclinical evidence of accelerated atherosclerosis.” Other moderate-risk conditions for adolescents include Kawasaki disease with regressed coronary aneurysms, chronic inflammatory disease, HIV infection and nephrotic syndrome.

Major depressive disorder and bipolar disorder are the first and fourth most disabling conditions among adolescents.

The authors suggested that providers, psychiatrists, patients and their families collaborate and understand that major depressive disorder and bipolar disorder are risk factors for cardiovascular disease. They noted teens with major depression or bipolar disorder are more likely to have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity, type 2 diabetes and hardening of the arteries compared with those without major depression.

“Youth with mood disorders are not yet widely recognized as a group at increased risk for excessive and early heart disease,” Goldstein said in a news release. “We hope these guidelines will spur action from patients, families and healthcare providers to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease among these youth.”