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Childhood attention deficit hyperactivity disorder problems and mid-life cardiovascular risk: a prospective population cohort study

Thapar, Ajay ORCID:, Riglin, Lucy, Blakey, Rachel, Collishaw, Stephan ORCID:, Davey Smith, George, Stergiakouli, Evie, Tilling, Kate and Thapar, Anita ORCID: 2023. Childhood attention deficit hyperactivity disorder problems and mid-life cardiovascular risk: a prospective population cohort study. The British Journal of Psychiatry 223 (4) , pp. 472-477. 10.1192/bjp.2023.90

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Background It is well-known that childhood attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is associated with later adverse mental health and social outcomes. Patient-based studies suggest that ADHD may be associated with later cardiovascular disease (CVD) but the focus of preventive interventions is unclear. It is unknown whether ADHD leads to established cardiovascular risk factors because so few cohort studies measure ADHD and also follow up to an age where CVD risk is evident. Aims To examine associations between childhood ADHD problems and directly measured CVD risk factors at ages 44/45 years in a UK population-based cohort study (National Child Development Study) of individuals born in 1958. Method Childhood ADHD problems were defined by elevated ratings on both the parent Rutter A scale and a teacher-rated questionnaire at age 7 years. Outcomes were known cardiovascular risk factors (blood pressure, lipid measurements, body mass index and smoking) at the age 44/45 biomedical assessment. Results Of the 8016 individuals assessed both during childhood and at the biomedical assessment 3.0% were categorised as having childhood ADHD problems. ADHD problems were associated with higher body mass index (B = 0.92 kg/m2, s.d. = 0.27–1.56), systolic (3.5 mmHg, s.d. = 1.4–5.6) and diastolic (2.2 mmHg, s.d. = 0.8–3.6) blood pressure, triglyceride levels (0.24 mol/l, s.d. = 0.02–0.46) and being a current smoker (odds ratio OR = 1.6, s.d. = 1.2–2.1) but not with LDL cholesterol. Conclusions Childhood ADHD problems predicted multiple cardiovascular risk factors by mid-life. These findings, when taken together with previously observed associations with cardiovascular disease in registries, suggest that individuals with ADHD could benefit from cardiovascular risk monitoring, given these risk factors are modifiable with timely intervention.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Medicine
MRC Centre for Neuropsychiatric Genetics and Genomics (CNGG)
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISSN: 0007-1250
Funders: MRC, Wellcome Trust
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 27 June 2023
Date of Acceptance: 2 June 2023
Last Modified: 01 Dec 2023 14:35

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