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People with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) — a condition marked by trouble focusing and impulsive behavior — may be more likely to have cardiovascular disease than people without the disorder, a new study finds.
Between 2001 and 2013, researchers reviewed the records of nearly 5.4 million people without cardiovascular disease who were born in Sweden between 1941 and 1983. During a follow-up period averaging nearly 12 years, 38% of those with ADHD were diagnosed with at least one form of cardiovascular disease, compared with 24% of people without ADHD.
People with ADHD were more likely to have other factors known to raise the risk of heart problems, including obesity, sleep problems, and heavy smoking. Even after adjusting for these and other potentially confounding factors, however, the elevated risk persisted. Of note, the higher risk of cardiovascular disease was the same whether or not people took medication for ADHD. People with ADHD should be carefully monitored for heart disease, say the authors, who published their findings in the October 2022 issue of World Psychiatry.
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