HealthDay News — Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a risk factor for cardiovascular diseases, according to a study published online in World Psychiatry.

Lin Li, PhD, from Örebro University in Sweden, and colleagues conducted a nationwide population-based cohort study to examine the risk for overall and specific groups of cardiovascular diseases among people with ADHD. A total of 5,389,519 adults born between 1941 and 1983 without preexisting cardiovascular diseases were identified from Swedish registers. Incident cardiovascular disease events were examined during January 1, 2001, to December 31, 2013.

The researchers found that 38.05% of individuals with ADHD and 23.57% of those without ADHD had at least 1 diagnosis of cardiovascular disease after an average of 11.80 years of follow-up. After adjustment for sex and year of birth, there was a significant association seen for ADHD with an increased risk for any cardiovascular disease (hazard ratio, 2.05). The association was attenuated but remained significant after further adjustment for education level, birth country, type 2 diabetes mellitus, obesity, dyslipidemia, sleep problems, and heavy smoking (hazard ratio, 1.84); further adjustment for psychiatric comorbidities attenuated the association, but it remained significant (hazard ratio, 1.65). The strongest associations were seen for cardiac arrest, hemorrhagic stroke, and peripheral vascular disease/arteriosclerosis (hazard ratios, 2.28, 2.16, and 2.05, respectively).

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“These findings underscore the importance of carefully monitoring cardiovascular health in adults with ADHD, and highlight a critical need for development of age-appropriate and individualized strategies to reduce the risk of cardiovascular morbidity in ADHD people,” the authors write.

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