Tag: cardiometabolic risk

A Link Between Tic Disorders & Cardiometabolic Risk?

Findings recently published in JAMA Neurology indicate that patients with Tourette syndrome, or chronic tic disorder (CTD), have an increased risk for developing at least one cardiovascular or metabolic disorder. Researchers from the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden examined data from almost 8,000 individuals with registered diagnoses of TS and CTD—finding that compared with the general population, they were nearly twice as likely to develop a cardiometabolic disorder, such as diabetes or obesity. While previous research has confirmed the correlation between tic disorders and an array of adverse health issues, there is limited research regarding the underlying risk factors and root causes.

In an interview with Medscape Cardiology, senior author Lorena Fernández de la Cruz, MD, assistant professor, Department of Clinical Neuroscience at Karolinska Institute, stated: “Our findings underscore the importance of carefully monitoring cardiometabolic health in patients with Tourette syndrome and CTD from an early age.” A subgroup of patients with CTD or Tourette syndrome who could be compared to siblings controls still surpassed the general population; Fernández de la Cruz noted that this could indicate “at least part of the risk for cardiometabolic disorders might be due to the tics themselves.” When analyzing specific disorders, those individuals with Tourette syndrome or CTD were at a higher risk for obesity and circulatory system diseases.

Researchers observed an elevated risk of cardiometabolic disorders as early as age 8; the data indicated that the risk of developing at least one cardiometabolic disorder by the end of the follow-up study—at an average of 41 years—was 52.5 in people with Tourette syndrome/CTD, compared to 29.5 in the general population. In commenting for theheart.org | Medscape Cardiology, Carol A. Mathews, MD, Department of Psychiatry, University of Florida in Gainesville, stated: “It is a clinically important study in that it suggests that psychiatrists and neurologists and other healthcare providers should routinely screen for cardiovascular and metabolic disorders among individuals with Tourette syndrome, including children.” Matthews serves as co-chair of the scientific advisory board of the Tourette Association of America.

While Mathews concurred that various factors could account for the study’s observations, she noted that the combination could include higher genetic risk, lifestyle factors, potential medications other than those specified in the study. Matthews additionally encouraged healthcare practitioners & professionals working with this population of patients to help them manage their respective weights through enhancing proper nutrition and diet, increasing physical activity and exercise regimens, and minimizing screen time—in addition to limiting medications that could increase cardiovascular or metabolic issues.

Additional References

Lifestyle Changes Help Reduce Cardiometabolic Risk

Chronic conditions now dominate healthcare, both in terms of expenditures and effects on patient quality of life. Over half of Americans have at least one diagnosed chronic condition. When solely considering cardiometabolic syndrome, 57.5% of Americans are estimated to have prediabetes, undiagnosed diabetes, or diabetes, and rates of metabolic syndrome continue to rise. To effectively treat this epidemic of chronic illness, and the overwhelming rates of cardiovascular disease, it is critical to arm both patients and providers with knowledge surrounding lifestyle modifications.

Christos S. Mantzoros, MD, professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, recently confirmed the critical importance of investigating & researching lifestyle changes for cardiometabolic risk: including nutrition and adherence to healthy diets, sufficient exercise, smoking cessation, and other factors that can help mitigate cardiometabolic risk. “This is a very important topic that is often overlooked,” said Dr. Mantzoros at the Heart in Diabetes Clinical Education Conference. He clarified that it is often “cumbersome and time-consuming” for clinicians to dispense practical advice to patients, and many prefer to outsource to dietitians.

Yet given statistics that indicate over 30% of the country’s population is obese—and more than one-third are considered overweight—apathy is no longer an option. Mantzoros offered supplemental suggestions that could help patients reduce cardiometabolic risk, encouraging adherence to plant-based diets, the consumption of less trans and saturated fats; moderation of alcohol, and participation in physical activity & exercise.

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