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New Study: Additional Warning Regarding Depression and Stroke

admin - September 21, 2011



On August 18 we posted information from a USA Today article that reported women with a history of depression had a higher stroke incidence. Yesterday depression hit the news again in a Health.com article on the CNN Health site, so be sure to share this post.

This new article reported findings of a study analysis that people with depression are not only more likely to have a stroke but their strokes are more likely to be fatal. This analysis was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

The Study Data

An Pan, Ph.D., is the lead author of the study analysis and a research fellow at the Harvard School of Public Health, in Boston. Pan and his colleagues took data from 28 studies dating back to the mid-1990s, which included about 318,000 people.

The studies, ranging anywhere from two to 29 years, supplied data that showed about 2.7% of the participants had experienced a stroke during the studies. Additionally, the study revealed those who received a depression diagnosis were 45% more likely to have a stroke and 55% more likely to die from said stroke.

About Depression

It certainly may not be surprising to readers that the study data suggests at least some of the stroke risk in depressed people can be due to an unhealthy lifestyle, since people who are depressed are more likely to smoke, drink, eat unhealthy foods, and neglect their overall health.

Besides those habits, though, other factors of depression that can affect inflammation levels in the blood vessels that you may not immediately think of can include:

  • An increased production of stress hormones
  • Not keeping up good dental hygiene
  • Not socializing with friends
  • Not taking medications that are meant to prevent stroke-related condition (e.g. stroke or blood pressure medications)
  • Taking atypical antipsychotics (AAPs) that control depression but have been shown to cause weight gain

The article is careful to mention that, “More research is needed to determine whether depression drugs contribute to stroke risk. Doctors should monitor weight gain and blood pressure levels in patients taking these drugs, but there’s no reason for patients to stop taking them.”

If you are taking AAP medications for bipolar disorder, Parkinson’s Disease, or other be sure to discuss stroke risks with your physician and keep up with stroke screenings.

You can read this article in full detail at: http://www.cnn.com/2011/09/20/health/depression-stroke-risk/index.html?section=cnn_latest




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