MENTAL health woes in the 20s and 30s raise the risk of a heart attack or stroke by up to three times, a study shows.
Anxiety, depression or insomnia raises blood pressure, which then puts extra strain on the heart, veins and arteries.
The disorders were linked to a 58 per cent higher risk of heart attack and 42 per cent greater risk of stroke, compared with people with good mental health.
The risk was much higher — peaking at three times more — for those suffering with post-traumatic stress disorder.
Prof Eue-Keun Choi, who used data from 6.6million South Koreans said: “Psychological problems were common in young adults and had strong links with heart health.
“Our findings indicate that these individuals should receive regular health check-ups and medication, if appropriate.
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“While lifestyle behaviours did not explain the excess risk, this does not mean that healthier habits would not improve prognosis.”
Study co-author Dr Chan Soon Park added: “Substantial numbers of young adults have at least one mental health problem which may predispose them to heart attack and stroke.
“Future research should examine the benefits of managing psychological problems.”
Up to one in four people in the UK are said to struggle with depression.
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