New Research Suggests That Mental Health Conditions Such As Depression And Anxiety Might Raise The Risk Of Heart Disease Among Young And Middle-Aged Women

Pixel-Shot - - illustrative purposes only, not the actual person

Young women are typically seen as less likely to develop heart disease. Yet, a recent study suggests that mental health issues could elevate their risk.

The research indicates that depression and anxiety might quicken the onset of factors that contribute to heart disease in young and middle-aged women.

These findings underscore the need for cardiovascular screenings and preventive measures, as the prevalence of risk factors for heart disease is on the rise, and heart attacks are increasingly occurring among younger individuals.

Additionally, rates of depression and anxiety have seen a significant uptick in recent times, particularly following the COVID-19 pandemic.

The research revealed that young women experiencing depression or anxiety had nearly double the chance of developing conditions like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or diabetes over 10 years compared to those without these mental health issues. This elevates their risk of heart disease to nearly the same levels as men of their age group.

“We often feel that young women are the ‘safe group’ with regards to cardiovascular disease because the incidence of cardiovascular disease is quite low due to the protective effects of estrogen in this group,” explained Giovanni Civieri, a cardiologist and research fellow at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, and the study’s lead author.

“But this study suggests that if a younger woman has depression or anxiety, we should start screening for cardiovascular risk factors to reduce the incidence of cardiovascular disease.”

The researchers examined the health records of 71,214 participants from the Mass General Brigham Biobank, a research initiative of the Mass General Brigham health system. They excluded individuals who were diagnosed with heart disease or who developed anxiety or depression after the commencement of the study.

During the 10-year follow-up timeframe, 38% of the participants were found to have developed conditions such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or diabetes. The study found that individuals with a pre-existing condition of anxiety or depression were about 55% more likely to acquire one or more of these risk factors compared to those without such mental health issues.

Pixel-Shot – – illustrative purposes only, not the actual person

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