SEP 18, 2022 10:00 AM PDT

Adult ADHD Could Lead to Increased Chances of Cardiovascular Diseases

Credit: Pixabay

In a recent study published in World Psychiatry, an international team of researchers suggests that people with attention -deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) have an increased chance of cardiovascular disease (CVD). This study helps expand our understanding of the link between individuals with mental disorders and risk for cardiovascular diseases, and was conducted by researchers from Sweden, Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

Approximately 2.5 percent of adults worldwide have ADHD, making it one of the most common developmental disorders, and often coincides with other physical and psychiatric conditions, some of which have been connected to an increased chance of CVD. However, the independent connection with ADHD and comprehensive and specific types of CVDs has not gotten as much attention.

For this study, the research team pursued the connection with ADHD and 20 different CVDs when set apart from other known risk factors, to include sleep problems, obesity, mental disorders, smoking, and type 2 diabetes.

"We found that adults with ADHD were more than twice as likely to develop at least one cardiovascular disease, compared with those without ADHD," said Dr. Lin Li, a postdoctoral researcher at the Department of Medical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Karolinska Institutet in Sweden, and first author of the study. "When we accounted for other well-established risk factors for CVDs, the association weakened but still remained significant, which indicates that ADHD is an independent risk factor for a wide range of cardiovascular diseases."

The study’s findings help strengthen a national registry data of more than five million Swedish adults, which includes approximately 37,000 individuals with ADHD. After conducting a follow-up of 11.8 years, the researchers discovered that 38 percent of persons with ADHD were diagnosed with at least one type of CVD, compared with 24 percent of individuals without ADHD.

"Clinicians needs to carefully consider psychiatric comorbidity and lifestyle factors to help reduce the CVD risk in individuals with ADHD, but we also need more research to explore plausible biological mechanisms, such as shared genetic components for ADHD and cardiovascular disease," said Dr. Henrik Larsson, professor at the School of Medical Sciences, Örebro University, and affiliated researcher at Karolinska Institutet, in Sweden, and a co-author of the study.

Sources: World Psychiatry

As always, keep doing science & keep looking up!

About the Author
MS in Geological Sciences
Laurence Tognetti is a six-year USAF Veteran who earned both a BSc and MSc from the School of Earth and Space Exploration at Arizona State University. Laurence is extremely passionate about outer space and science communication, and is the author of “Outer Solar System Moons: Your Personal 3D Journey”.
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