Heart rate, BP in teenagers may up psychiatric disorder risk

London: Male teenagers with a higher resting heart rate and increased level of blood pressure may be at an high risk of developing psychiatric disorders such as obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), schizophrenia and other anxiety disorders, a study has found.

The findings showed that men in their late teenage with a resting heart rate above 82 beats per minute had 69 per cent increased risk for OCD, 21 per cent increased risk for schizophrenia and 18 per cent increased risk for anxiety disorders compared with those whose resting heart rates were below 62 beats per minute.

Besides resting heart rate, changes in blood pressure, regulated by the autonomic nervous system, have been observed in some patients with psychiatric disorders but the results have been inconsistent.

Lower resting heart rate and blood pressure were also associated with substance use disorders and violent behaviour, said Antti Latvala from the University of Helsinki, Finland.

For the study the team used data of more than one million men in Sweden whose resting heart rate and blood pressure were measured at military conscription (average age 18) from 1969 to 2010 to examine whether differences in cardiac autonomic function were associated with psychiatric disorders.

The results were published online by JAMA Psychiatry.