Teenagers experiencing depression or bipolar disorder, the mental condition marked by alternating periods of elation and depression, are at higher risk of heart disease.
In a new statement, the American Heart Association (AHA) asks that doctors watch for heart and blood vessel disease among severely depressed teens.
After analyzing the published research on the topic, the authors found that teens with depression or bipolar disorder are more likely to have heart diseases.
Dr. Benjamin Goldstein, a child-adolescent psychiatrist at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Center said that teens with depression were not widely recognized as being at increased risk for early heart disease.
Teenagers with mood swings are more likely than other teens to engage in unhealthy behaviors such as smoking, the doctors say those factors alone do not explain their raised heart disease risk.
"Mood disorders are often lifelong conditions, and managing cardiovascular risk early and assertively is tremendously important if we are to be successful in ensuring that the next generation of youth has better cardiovascular outcomes," he said.
Since cardiovascular disease can start early in life, the the association wanted to increase awareness that mood disorders in youth raise the risk for heart disease.