Heart and Mind

Study suggests high blood pressure and bipolar disorder go hand-in-hand

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) Recent findings from Michigan State University correlate a strong link between hypertension (high blood pressure) and bipolar disorder, a psychiatric illness.

Researchers found the younger a person is diagnosed with bipolar disorder -- which is characterized by unpredictable shifts in mood, from manic highs to crushing lows -- the more likely they are to develop hypertension. They also found that nearly half of patients hospitalized with bipolar disorder may suffer from the cardiovascular condition, which is sometimes a precursor to heart disease.

A connection between psychiatric illness and cardio-metabolic conditions such as high blood pressure and diabetes has long been established. To expand on this research, MSU psychiatrist and lead investigator Dale D'Mello analyzed 99 patients hospitalized for bipolar disorder and found bipolar patients with hypertension also suffer from higher levels of mania.

D'Mello said physicians should look to treat hypertension more aggressively in bipolar patients, based on these findings.

The conditions are not unrelated. High blood pressure and bipolar disorder are both triggered by stress and are linked to norepinephrine excretion, which affects how the brain reacts to stress, D'Mello said.

MSU researchers are now looking to determine how hypertension and other cardio-metabolic disorders interact over the long-term.

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Review Date: 
January 13, 2011
Last Updated:
January 13, 2011