Does bipolar disorder increase the risk of heart diseases?

Consistent with the American Heart Association, the increased risk of heart disease for people with bipolar disorder could also be evident early in life. Studies have found that children with manic depression have above-average rates of elevated triglycerides (blood fats) and cholesterol. Other risk factors for a heart condition, like overweight, obesity, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, smoking tobacco, and other substances are more common in those with manic depression than the overall population.

People with the foremost severe mental disorders, including manic depression, also carry a better than average risk of early death from a physical health condition, with life span shortened by 10 to 25 years.

Regularly exercising

Over the past decade, workout and other lifestyle interventions became the main target of much research into keeping symptoms of manic depression cornered and improving the day-to-day lives and future health outcomes for those that accept this debilitating condition. Overall, people with manic depression reportedly lead sedentary lives and, perhaps predictably, those that do engage in physical activity get less exercise during times of depression and more exercise during times of mania.

As with the other group, however, the answer isn’t as simple as advising people to do more exercise or to form the other lifestyle changes, for that matter. There’s no “one-size-fits-all” intervention, which will work for everybody with manic depression.

On the other hand, people with bipolar disorder who exercised more often reported experiencing more periods of mania in the previous year and more manic symptoms during the study. The researchers have suggested that early intervention to divide exercise durations and encourage regular activity can prove beneficial for people with manic depression.

Food Matters

Researchers at the Harvard school of medicine and the Psychiatry Department at Massachusetts General Hospital developed one intervention program. The intervention program included nutrition modules that emphasized simple lifestyle, choosing healthy foods, eating balanced meals, limiting portion sizes, learning strategies to regulate cravings, and understanding the role of varied nutrients in healthiness. Medical research from Duke University also suggested that following healthier eating patterns, like those found during a Mediterranean-style diet, could also be especially beneficial to the physical and psychological state of these with manic depression.

As a group, however, people with manic depression, particularly young females, even have a higher-than-average rate of eating disorders, most ordinarily binge disorder and bulimia nervosa. Both of those conditions involve overeating and will help explain overall higher rates of overweight, obesity, and other factors that contribute to the event of a heart condition. Eating disorders are linked to higher rates of mood instability and other issues that affect general health—learning what a healthy diet is like is simply one component of any therapy that successfully treats eating disorders.

Personal Choices

In addition to understanding the broad lifestyle interventions which will help manage manic depression and related psychological state issues, while improving lifestyle habits that contribute to the event of a heart condition and other chronic health problems. Researchers still got to check out individual factors like motivation, accessibility, readiness to vary, co-existing conditions, exercise, individual beliefs and attitudes toward diet, and other lifestyle habits, all of which play an outsized role within the success of any health improvement program. A review of all studies so far, watching the advantages of lifestyle interventions designed to enhance both physical and mental outcomes for people with manic depression, found that these programs can indeed achieve success. However, these programs must consider a patient’s individual needs and priorities so as for real change to occur.

Bipolar disorder increases the risk of early death from natural causes

The varied studies indicated that the danger was from 35 percent to 200 percent higher. The danger is the same for men and ladies. The foremost common conditions resulting in premature death were heart condition, respiratory diseases, stroke, and endocrine problems like diabetes.

The significant reasons for this higher risk of premature death are manifold. Many factors might be contributing to poor physical health among people with manic depression, consistent with the published report in the journal Psychiatric Services. These include binge eating, unhealthy diet, lack of exercise, smoking, drug abuse, living alone, social deprivation, lack of access to healthcare services, biased attitudes of society and health professionals towards people with psychiatric disorders, homelessness, failure among psychiatrists to deal with their patient’s medical problems, or delaying medical aid due to the overriding need for psychiatric treatment.

Biological abnormalities related to bipolar disorder may also be shortening lives, as Katon, a University of Washington (UW) professor of psychiatry, noted. The illness can stress the system and, therefore, the hypothalamic-pituitary axis, a system that controls many body processes. Bipolar disorders can also heighten the activity of the sympathetic systema nervosum, which triggers the fight-or-flight response to worry.

Katon also stated that some new antipsychotic medications could treat bipolar disorders successfully are safer and easier for the patients in a few ways than previous medications. It can, however, can result in weight gain resulting in obesity and other metabolic changes that predispose people to Type 2 diabetes. Some mood stabilizers, Katon added, are also related to weight gain and metabolic disorders.

Katon mentioned new attempts to undertake to scale back premature death in people with manic depression. These include providing psychiatrists with guidelines and training in monitoring the basic physical health of their patients and teaching them how to advise their patients about exercise, smoking cessation, and preventive measures.

Medicine centers are also adding mental health professionals to diagnose and treat depression, anxiety, and other psychic distress, accompanying severe diseases.

“Psychiatrists are now on the staff of a growing number of medical clinics, like centers for diabetes, heart condition and cancer, and at primary-care centers, like family practice practices,” Katon said. “Mental health professionals are working side-by-side with providers who treat medical illnesses. New approaches to health care and wellness programs are being tested at a variety of places to seek out effective models for preventing premature deaths related to manic depression and other mental illnesses.”

Doctors should keep an in-depth eye on the health of teens with depression and bipolar disorder, monitoring factors like weight, vital signs, and cholesterol. Through improved communication and early screening, doctors can work closely with patients to deal with any cardiovascular risk factors before they become a drag. Authors also encourage future research on the difficulty, as few studies have specifically addressed cardiovascular risk in this population.

Image Credits: Getty Images

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