Friday, April 5, 2024

High Blood Glucose, Triglycerides Linked to Long-Term Risk of Mental Disorders

Individuals with elevated blood levels of glucose and triglycerides have an increased risk of depression, anxiety, and stress-related disorders, as do individuals with low blood levels of HDL cholesterol (“good cholesterol”), a study in JAMA Network Open has found. Further, elevated levels of glucose or triglycerides were present in individuals who developed one of these disorders as far back as 20 years prior to diagnosis.

Charilaos Chourpiliadis, M.D., of the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm and colleagues analyzed data from 211,200 participants in the Apolipoprotein-Related Mortality Risk cohort who underwent occupational health screening between January 1, 1985, and December 31, 1996. As part of the screening, blood tests were done to measure glucose, total cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, LDL cholesterol (“bad cholesterol”), triglycerides and other markers of metabolic and cardiovascular risk. The researchers determined clinical cutoffs for these blood markers based on previous research and/or cardiovascular disease guidelines.

Study participants had a mean age of 42.1 years at their first screening and were followed for a mean of 21 years. The researchers examined the individuals’ diagnoses in the Swedish Patient Register to look for a first diagnosis of depression, anxiety, or stress-related disorders. They defined stress-related disorders as acute stress reaction, posttraumatic stress disorder, adjustment disorders, other reactions to severe stress, and unspecified reaction to severe stress.

Over the follow-up period, 16,256 individuals were diagnosed with depression, anxiety, or stress-related disorders, with a mean age at diagnosis of 60.5 years. The researchers found the following:

  • Individuals with blood glucose levels of 110 mg/deciliter or higher had a 30% higher risk of depression, anxiety, and stress-related disorders compared to those with lower levels.
  • Individuals with triglyceride levels of 150 mg/deciliter or higher had a 15% higher risk of these mental illnesses compared to those with lower levels.
  • Individuals with HDL cholesterol levels of 40 mg/deciliter or higher had a 12% lower risk of these mental illnesses compared to those with lower levels.

“These results add further evidence of the association between cardiometabolic health and psychiatric disorders and potentially advocate for a closer follow-up of individuals with metabolic dysregulations for prevention and early diagnosis of psychiatric disorders,” the researchers wrote. “Additional studies are needed to explore whether rigorous or earlier interventions for cardiometabolic diseases could counteract such an association.”

For related information, see the American Journal of Psychiatry article “Genetic and Environmental Contribution to the Co-Occurrence of Endocrine-Metabolic Disorders and Depression: A Nationwide Swedish Study of Siblings.”

(Image: Getty Images/iStock/dlerick)

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