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.
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.
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.