Toronto: People facing mental health challenges are twice as likely to contract heart diseases, found a research.
Psychiatric medications, unhealthy activities and access to health care are three major factors that account for the increased risk, the findings showed.
"This population is at high risk, and it is even greater for people with multiple mental health issues," said lead author of the study Katie Goldie from the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, Toronto in Canada.
For the study, the researchers used data from the Canadian Community Health Survey.
The study included people with schizophrenia, bipolar disorders, major depressive and anxiety disorders.
Among the psychiatric drugs examined were antipsychotic, antidepressant, benzodiazepine and mood-stabilizing medications.
The researchers found that people who have had a mental health disorder at any point in their life were twice as likely to have contracted a heart disease or experienced a stroke.
Again, those who have not developed a heart disease or experienced a stroke are more likely to be at a high, long-term, risk of developing cardio-vascular disease, when compared to the general population.
People who used psychiatric medications were twice as likely to contract heart disease and three times as likely to experience a stroke compared with those not taking these medications, the findings showed.
Psychiatric medications can induce weight gain and impair the breakdown of fats and sugars by the body. This can lead to obesity, high cholesterol and diabetes.
Besides, patients with mental health disorders may also have difficulty communicating their health needs
The study was presented today at the Canadian Cardiovascular Congress.