The bodies of people with a history of mental illness such as depression, bipolar disorder, or anxiety disorders have blood markers that suggest they are older than their actual age.
The bodies of people with a history of mental illness such as depression, bipolar disorder, or anxiety disorders they have blood markers that suggest they are older than their actual age.
This explains why people with mental disorders tend to have a shorter life expectancy and more age-related diseases than the general population.
That is the main conclusion of a study carried out by Julian Mutz and Cathryn Lewis of King’s College London (United Kingdom) and who analyzed data on 168 different blood metabolites from 110,780 participants in the UK Biobank. The work has been presented at the European Congress of Psychiatry, which is held until next Tuesday in Paris (France).
The authors linked these data with information on whether people had a history of mental illness and found that those with a mental disorder had an older metabolite profile than expected for their age.
“It is now possible to predict the age of people from blood metabolites. We found that, on average, those with a lifetime history of mental illness had a metabolite profile that implied they were older than their actual age.” For example, people with bipolar disorder had blood markers indicating that they had about two years older than his chronological age,” explains Mutz.
People with mental health disorders tend to have shorter lives and poorer quality of health than the general population. Estimates of effect vary by mental health condition. Often people with mental health problems show a greater tendency to develop heart disease and diabetes and these conditions tend to worsen with age.
A 2019 study found that people with mental disorders had a shorter median life expectancy of 10 years for men and 7 years for women compared to the general population.
“The bodies of people with mental health problems tend to be older than would be expected for an individual their age. This may not explain all of the difference in health and life expectancy among people with mental health problems.” mental health and the general population, but it does mean that accelerated biological aging may be an important factor,” says Mutz.
This researcher adds in this regard: “If we can use these markers to track biological aging, this may change the way we analyze the physical health of people with mental illnesses and how we evaluate the effectiveness of interventions aimed at improving physical health.” .
Sara Poletti, from the San Raffaele Hospital in Milan (Italy), points out that this new study provides “a possible explanation of the higher prevalence of metabolic and age-related diseases in patients with mental illnesses”.
“Understanding the mechanisms underlying accelerated biological aging could be crucial for the development of preventive and personalized treatments to address the increasing difficulty of integrated management of these disorders,” he concludes.
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