Adult ADHD Linked to Significantly Increased Risk of Many Heart Diseases

According to the researchers, adults with ADHD were more than twice as likely to develop at least one heart condition.

A large observational study found that adults with ADHD were at high risk for various cardiovascular diseases.

Researchers from the Karolinska Institute and Örebro University in Sweden found that adults with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are more likely than people without the disorder to develop various cardiovascular diseases. The results, recently published in the journal Global Psychiatryemphasize the need to monitor the cardiovascular health of patients with ADHD.

ADHD is one of the most common neurodevelopmental disorders, with a worldwide prevalence of approximately 2.5% in adults. It often coexists with other physical and mental disorders, some of which have been linked to an elevated risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD). However, not as much focus has been placed on whether ADHD is independently related to global and specific cardiovascular diseases.

The present study aimed to discover the link between ADHD and 20 different cardiovascular diseases when separated from other known risk factors such as type 2 diabetes, obesity, smoking, sleep problems and disorders. mental.

“We found that adults with ADHD were more than twice as likely to develop at least one cardiovascular disease, compared to those without ADHD,” says study first author Lin Li, a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of medical epidemiology and biostatistics of the Karolinska Institute. . “When we controlled for other well-established risk factors for cardiovascular disease, the association weakened but still remained significant, indicating that ADHD is an independent risk factor for a wide range of cardiovascular illnesses.”

The findings are based on data from a national registry of more than five million Swedish adults, including 37,000 people with ADHD. 38% of people with ADHD had at least one diagnosis of cardiovascular disease after an average of 11.8 years of follow-up, compared to 24% of those without ADHD.

Risks for all kinds of cardiovascular disease were increased, but particularly high for cardiac arrest, hemorrhagic stroke, and peripheral vascular disease. The link was somewhat stronger in men than in women. Certain psychiatric comorbidities, particularly food and substance use problems, significantly increase the risk of cardiovascular disease in patients with ADHD. Stimulants and other psychiatric medications, such as antidepressants and anxiolytics, had no effect on the relationship between ADHD and cardiovascular disease.

The researchers note that due to the observational nature of the study, the results cannot establish a causal relationship.

“Clinicians need to carefully consider psychiatric comorbidity and lifestyle factors to help reduce CVD risk in people with ADHD, but we also need more research to explore plausible biological mechanisms, such as shared genetic components for ADHD and cardiovascular disease,” the study’s latest states. author Henrik Larsson, professor at the School of Medical Sciences at Örebro University and researcher affiliated with the Karolinska Institute.

Reference: “Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder as a Risk Factor for Cardiovascular Disease: A National Population-Based Cohort Study” by Lin Li, Zheng Chang, Jiangwei Sun, Miguel Garcia-Argibay, Ebba Du Rietz, Maja Dobrosavljevic, Isabell Brikell, Tomas Jernberg, Marco Solmi, Samuele Cortese and Henrik Larsson, September 8, 2022, Global Psychiatry.
DOI: 10.1002/wps.21020

The study was funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program, the Swedish Research Council, the Swedish Brain Foundation, the Swedish Council for Health, Working Life and Well-being. be and the Swedish Society for Medical Research.

The researchers note that the study has some limitations, including a lack of data on certain lifestyle factors, such as diet and physical activity, that could impact the association.