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Most Severe Forms of Mental Illness Lead to Highest CVD Risk

Findings seen in both male and female veterans with psychotic disorders such as schizophrenia

MONDAY, Sept. 30, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Multiple mental illnesses are associated with an increased risk for cardiovascular disease (CVD) outcomes in veterans, with psychosis having the largest effect sizes, according to a study published online Sept. 24 in Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes.

Mary C. Vance, M.D., from the Uniformed Services University in Bethesda, Maryland, and colleagues used a national primary prevention cohort of military veterans to examine how the presence of a psychiatric diagnosis at baseline (2005 to 2009) correlated with CVD outcomes during the next five years (Jan. 1, 2010, to Dec. 31, 2014), stratified by age and adjusting for other psychiatric diagnoses.

The researchers found that depression, psychosis, and bipolar disorder were predictive of both CVD events and CVD mortality among men in the fully adjusted model, with the largest effect size seen for psychosis (e.g., adjusted odds ratio, 1.48 for psychosis and CVD mortality). Only psychosis and bipolar disorder were predictive of both CVD events and CVD mortality among women, with the largest effect size for psychosis (e.g., adjusted odds ratio, 1.97 for psychosis and CVD mortality). In men, anxiety was associated with CVD mortality only, and in women, depression was associated with CVD events only.

“The bottom line is that when considering a veteran’s health care needs, mental health status, especially for more severe mental illnesses, should be taken into consideration when calculating cardiovascular disease risk and considering the appropriate treatment options,” Vance said in a statement.

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