According to a new study published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, adults in their twenties and thirties living with mental disorders have up to a three times higher risk of suffering a stroke or heart attack.
Within the research, which included over 6.5 million individuals, one out of every eight participants had a mental illness such as anxiety, depression, or insomnia. And lifestyle habits did not explain the increased heart attack or stroke risk.
Instead, the study’s author– Professor Eu-Keun Choi from the Seoul National University College of Medicine– detailed how psychological problems are closely tied to cardiovascular health.
“The findings indicate that these individuals should receive regular health check-ups and medication if appropriate to prevent myocardial infarction and stroke,” Choi said.
“While lifestyle behaviors did not explain the excess cardiovascular risk, this does not mean that healthier habits would not improve prognosis. Lifestyle modification should therefore be recommended to young adults with mental disorders to boost heart health.”
The study specifically examined the relationship between mental disorders among adults aged 20 to 39 and the risk of developing ischemic stroke and myocardial infarction.
The Korean National Health Insurance Service (NHIS) database was used to collect data on over 6.5 million individuals who had no history of stroke or myocardial infarction and received a health examination between 2009 and 2012.
The average age of the participants was 31 years old, and over 850,000 were diagnosed with at least one mental disorder.
Among this group, almost half of the individuals had anxiety. Additionally, just over 21% had depression, and 20% had insomnia.