Dr. Samadi: OCD, anxiety in men linked to heart rate as teens

Men, some new research shows a fascinating correlation between your physical health as an adolescent and your mental health as an adult.

An increased lifetime risk for psychiatric disorders, including obsessive-compulsive disorder, schizophrenia, and anxiety disorders is indicated by differences in heart rate and blood pressure in late adolescence.

Scientists at the University of Helsinki, Finland, examined data for more than 1 million men in Sweden whose resting heart rate and blood pressure were measured at military conscription (average age 18) between 1969 to 2010. Their analyses included follow-up data up to 45 years later.

They discovered that men in their late teens with resting heart rates above 82 beats per minute had a 69 percent increased risk for later obsessive-compulsive disorder, a 21 percent increased risk for schizophrenia and an 18 percent increased risk for anxiety disorders compared with those whose resting heart rates were below 62 beats per minute. Similar associations were discovered for blood pressure.

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The data were adjusted for IQ because, according to the study authors, IQ is associated with psychiatric morbidity. The researchers also included several other known factors that might influence the outcome of the results, including physical, cognitive, and socioeconomic factors. They included height, weight, and body mass index, due to their potential association with both cardiovascular functioning and the risk for mental disorders.

On the other end of the scale, teenage males with a lower resting heartbeat were linked to substance use disorders and convictions for violent behavior, especially after adjusting for physical fitness.

“In this large-scale longitudinal cohort study, we found men with higher resting heart rate and higher blood pressure in late adolescence to be more likely to have received a diagnosis of OCD, schizophrenia, or anxiety disorder later in life.

Dr. David Samadi

Dr. David Samadi

“Our findings are novel; there are no previous prospective studies linking these cardiovascular measures to subsequent OCD, schizophrenia, or anxiety disorders,” the researchers note. However, they say that their findings cannot establish cause and effect” wrote the authors.

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What about the women? The researchers only had data for men, but they have reason to believe results for the fairer sex would not proceed along the same lines.

“Compared with men, women have a higher heart rate but show relatively greater parasympathetic control of the heart,” note the authors. “While these differences are poorly understood, they imply that associations between resting heart rate and psychiatric disorders may be different in men and women.”

The researchers published their results in JAMA Psychiatry.

Dr. Samadi is a board-certified urologic oncologist trained in open and traditional and laparoscopic surgery and is an expert in robotic prostate surgery. He is chairman of urology, chief of robotic surgery at Lenox Hill Hospital and professor of urology at Hofstra North Shore-LIJ School of Medicine. He is a medical correspondent for the Fox News Channel’s Medical A-Team Learn more at roboticoncology.com. Visit Dr. Samadi’s blog at SamadiMD.com. Follow Dr. Samadi on Twitter, Instagram, Pintrest and Facebook

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