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People with severe mental illness have higher risk of heart disease

Raghu Kshitiz

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LONDON — People who are suffering from severe mental illness (SMI), including schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and major depression have 53 per cent risk of developing cardiovascular disease than those without mental illness, according to an international study of more than 3.2 million people with severe mental illness.

The study led by King’s College London, the research shows that people with severe mental illness (SMI), including schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and major depression, have a 53 percent higher risk for having cardiovascular disease than healthy controls, with a 78 percent higher risk of developing cardiovascular disease over the longer term.

Their risk of dying from the disease was also 85 per cent higher than people of a similar age in the general population.

Researchers have identified some important factors which increase risk for heart disease, including antipsychotic use and higher body mass index.

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Published online in World Psychiatry, the study suggest that clinicians, where possible, should choose antipsychotics with lower side effects related to weight gain, high blood pressure and glucose abnormalities.

The findings highlight the importance of regularly screening SMI patients for cardiovascular risk and also point towards a number of potentially modifiable risk factors.

“People with SMI (severe mental illness) die much earlier than those without these disorders, yet the majority of these premature deaths may be preventable with care that prioritises lifestyle changes, such as exercise, better nutrition and stopping smoking, along with cautious prescribing of antipsychotics,” Brendon Stubbs from King’s College London said.

The researchers examined 92 studies across four continents and 16 different countries.

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Health

Drinking 3 cups of coffee or tea daily may keep stroke risk at bay

Raghu Kshitiz

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KATHMANDU — There have been several conflicting studies on the health benefits of drinking coffee and tea and their various varieties. But drinking up to three cups of coffee or tea in a day is safe because it reduces irregular heartbeat and stroke risk, according to a new study published in the journal JACC: Clinical Electrophysiology.

Coffee has previously been believed to worsen abnormal heart rhythms, as doctors generally discourage patients suffering from the condition. However, the results of this particular study say that a daily consumption of upto 300 mg of caffeine may be safe for arrhythmic patients.

This is because the caffeine acts as a stimulant to the central nervous system and blocks the effect of adenosine. Adenosine is a chemical which causes Atrial Fibrillation (AFib).

A single cup of coffee contains about 95 mg of caffeine. It acts as a stimulant to the central nervous system and works to block the effects of adenosine — a chemical that causes AFib.

AFib is the most common heart rhythm disorder, causes the heart to beat rapidly and skip beats, and if left untreated, can cause strokes.

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“There is a public perception, often based on anecdotal experience, that caffeine is a common acute trigger for heart rhythm problems,” said lead author Peter Kistler, Director at Melbourne’s Alfred Hospital.

But, “caffeinated beverages such as coffee and tea have long-term anti-arrhythmic properties mediated by antioxidant effects and antagonism of adenosine,” he added.

A meta-analysis of 228,465 participants showed that AFib frequency decreasing by 6 per cent in regular coffee drinkers, and an analysis of 115,993 patients showed a 13 per cent reduced risk.

Another study of 103 post-heart attack patients who received an average of 353 mg of caffeine a day showed improvement in heart rate and no significant arrhythmias — or abnormal heart rhythms, that cause the heart to beat too fast, slow or unevenly.

However, in two studies, where patients drank at least 10 cups and nine cups of coffee per day, showed an increased risk for ventricular arrhythmias (VAs) – a condition in which the lower chambers of the heart (ventricles) beat very quickly.

On the other hand, patients with pre-existing heart conditions who consumed two or more energy drinks — that contains concentrated caffeine — per day reported palpitations within 24 hours.

With Agency Inputs

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