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Abnormal Resting Heart Rate, Blood Pressure Could Lead to Mental Health Disorders

Oct 27, 2016 06:05 AM EDT
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A new study revealed that people with abnormal heart rate and blood pressure are more likely to be diagnosed with mental health disorders later on their life.

The study, published in the journal JAMA Psychiatry, suggests that men with resting heart rate higher than 82 beats per minute were 69 percent more likely to be diagnosed with obsessive-compulsive disorder, compared to men with heart rate lower than 62 beats per minute.

"These results are interesting, because they provide new information on the role of the autonomic nervous system in psychiatric disorders," said Antti Latvala, a postdoctoral researcher at University of Helsinki and lead author of the study, in a press release. "Our observations indicate that differences in physiological responses, such as stress reactions, are linked to the risk of mental disorders. It is also known that psychiatric illnesses are associated with an increased risk for cardiovascular disease. Our results open new opportunities for studying this connection as well,"

For the study, the researchers conducted a longitudinal cohort study of more than 1 million men in Sweden. The blood pressure and heart rate of the participant were measured at military conscription from 1969 to 2010. The researchers then conducted a follow-up to the participants using data from national patient register.

After considering several factors, such as BMI, socioeconomic status, ethnic background, cognitive ability and physical fitness, the researcher found that men with high resting heart rate and blood pressure are 69 percent more likely to be diagnosed with obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Furthermore, participants with high resting blood pressure and heart rate are at risk of developing schizophrenia and anxiety disorders, 21 percent and 18 percent respectively. On the other hand, men with low resting heart rate and blood pressure are more likely to suffer from substance abuse and convicted for violent crimes.

The researchers noted that additional studies are needed to determine the underlying mechanisms connecting resting heart rate and mental health disorders.

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