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Panic Disorder Appears To Increase Risk Of Coronary Heart Disease

Date:
September 24, 2005
Source:
Center for the Advancement of Health
Summary:
Patients with panic disorder have nearly double the risk for coronary heart disease, and those also diagnosed with depression are at almost three times the risk, according to new research.

Patients with panic disorder have nearly double the risk for coronaryheart disease, and those also diagnosed with depression are at almostthree times the risk, according to new research.

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The study in the current issue of Psychosomatic Medicine focuses onthe medical histories of nearly 40,000 people from the time they werefirst diagnosed as suffering from panic disorder.

Lead author Andres Gomez-Caminero, Ph.D., says the largecohort study "highlights, for the first time, the potential foradditive effects of different psychiatric conditions on cardiovascularhealth ... and it really sets the foundation for new research in thearea of cardiovascular risk estimation among patients with mentalillness."

The report focuses on medical histories from a database of 17 million patients jointly maintained by 30 managed care providers.

Panic disorder involves unexpected and repeated episodes ofintense fear accompanied by physical symptoms including chest pain,heart palpitations, shortness of breath, dizziness or abdominaldistress. Panic disorder patients are more likely to be female,overweight, smokers and have a history of depression.

About 2.4 million Americans annually experience panic episodes,and the manifestations often mimic symptoms of a heart attack. Thedisorder can be treated by medications and psychotherapy.

Coronary heart disease is an umbrella term for processes thatreduce the arterial flow of blood to the heart. Nearly 14 millionAmericans have a history of coronary heart disease, which is theleading cause of death in the United States.

The authors of the study say the mechanism by which incidentsof panic disorder might trigger coronary heart disease is not known.However, they note that certain stress responses to depression alreadyhave been shown to increase the risk of coronary heart disease, whichreinforces the study's conclusion that the association between a panicdisorder and coronary heart disease "suggests the need forcardiologists and internists to monitor panic disorder" in the interestof cutting the risk of coronary heart disease.

Jack Gorman, M.D., a professor pf psychiatry and neuroscienceat the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, calls the study, "one more pieceof evidence that mood and anxiety disorders ... significantly increasethe risk for heart disease," adding that more work is needed "tounderstand the basic biological link between the brain and the heartthat explains these phenomena."

###

GlaxoSmithKline Pharmaceuticals funded the study whileGomez-Caminero was working for the firm. Gomez-Caminero is now withBristol-Myers Squibb.


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The above story is based on materials provided by Center for the Advancement of Health. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Center for the Advancement of Health. "Panic Disorder Appears To Increase Risk Of Coronary Heart Disease." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 24 September 2005. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/09/050924105015.htm>.
Center for the Advancement of Health. (2005, September 24). Panic Disorder Appears To Increase Risk Of Coronary Heart Disease. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 30, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/09/050924105015.htm
Center for the Advancement of Health. "Panic Disorder Appears To Increase Risk Of Coronary Heart Disease." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/09/050924105015.htm (accessed March 30, 2015).

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