Kids these days are overburdened with studies and suffer from cut-throat competition in all walks of life. They are forced to learn new things, expected to excel in different streams besides academics and peer pressure also creates tension among this age group. Kids, who are at a juncture in life that’s supposed to be their best years before moving on to responsibilities, work commitments and more don’t get to relish the blessing of adolescence presently. While some cope with all of these, stay ahead in the race and come out with flying colours they might only be the cream of the population. All others strive to get through the daily battles of life and are almost ripped off their energy by the end of day. This causes anxiety and stress among the younger generation which is evident with the rising number of depression and anxiety rates among youngsters. A little concern or worry over certain things is normal in life but when this becomes an everyday affair it manifests as anxiety disorder or panic disorder.
Statistics show that anxiety or panic disorder is higher in those with coronary artery disease in adults but there is no clarity whether anxiety brings about heart disease or vice versa. Anxiety disorder can cause heart rhythm disturbance and being diagnosed with heart disease might also elevate anxiety levels in the affected person. Its now been discovered that kids with abnormal heart rhythm problems are likelier to suffer from anxiety, depression and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
The study probed into medical details of more than 2,50,000 kids and compared data on more than 7,300 children with abnormal heart rhythms to children with congenital heart disease, cystic fibrosis, sickle cell disease and kids with none of these conditions. Results showed that kids with arrhythmia were 1.5 times likelier to be diagnosed or treated for anxiety/depression compared to those with cystic fibrosis (the research team chose cystic fibrosis and sickle cell disease as these can be managed with meds and involve multiple hospitalizations) and 5 times likelier than those with sickle cell disease. Kids with arrhythmia were nine times likelier to be diagnosed or treated for anxiety and depression and almost 5 times likelier to be diagnosed or treated for ADHD compared to kids without chronic diseases.
According to health experts, there are a vast population of kids suffering from abnormal heart rhythms who don’t have congenital heart disease but might be suffering from depression and ADHD. It is both the physician’s and the parent’s responsibility to notice changes in the kid’s health and treat him/her to raise the quality of life of these little ones. So, when kids with irregular heart beats are put under medications it is also the duty of the physician to check for the mental health of the child. All of us have the habits of prioritizing physical health (if at all we do!) over mental health but this needs to change. Health is not just physical wellness but complete wellness of the body which includes emotional and mental well-being as well. If you are interested in knowing more about health and tips for leading a healthier life, please visit www.firsteatright.com.
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Dietitian & Nutritionist Dr. Nafeesa Imteyaz.