Adults with mood disorders, such as bipolar disorder and major depressive disorder, are at a higher risk than others of dying prematurely of various physical health conditions, according to new research conducted at St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton. The study found that the risk of premature death due to physical health conditions is largely caused by an elevated risk of metabolic syndrome and coronary heart disease among this group. Metabolic syndrome involves a cluster of risk factors associated with cardiovascular disease and other serious illnesses including diabetes.
The study examined the 10-year risk for coronary heart disease and the incidence of metabolic syndrome for patients who were newly diagnosed with bipolar disorder and major depressive disorder. Risk was also assessed during a two-year follow-up period. Fifty-four participants, control matched for age and sex, were identified from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey III dataset.
The research showed that 11.2 percent of patients initially met the diagnostic criteria for coronary heart disease and that this increased to 16.8 percent at follow-up. Likewise, the 10-year risk for coronary heart disease was low for patients at baseline but increased across the follow-up period. The research also found that women had higher rates of metabolic syndrome but rates for both men and women were similar across diagnosis. As well, changes in rates of coronary heart disease and metabolic syndrome were not associated with a specific type of pharmacotherapy; all medications appeared to increase the risk.
See “Adults With Mood Disorders Have an Increased Risk Profile for Cardiovascular Disease Within the First 2 Years of Treatment,” Canadian Journal of Psychiatry (June 2010; 55: 362-368), available at publications.cpa-apc.org.