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Video: Severe Depression Is Associated With The Risk Of Stroke
Severe depression is associated with the risk of stroke
Depression is common, but often untreated. New research shows that early detection and treatment of it can go a long way in preventing stroke and heart disease.
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People with more severe symptoms of depression have a higher risk of stroke than people with few or no symptoms of depression, according to preliminary research to be presented at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Neurology.
According to study author Marialaura Simonetto of the University of Miami, depression is common and often untreated. But the follow-up results show how depression can influence the risk of stroke and other cardiovascular diseases. “If people with depression are at increased risk of stroke, then early detection and treatment will be even more important,” Simonetto said.
The study involved 1104 people with an average age of 70 who had never had a stroke. Participants were followed up for an average of 14 years. Eighteen percent of the participants, or 198 people, had severe symptoms of depression at the start of the study. These symptoms were assessed using a questionnaire in which participants were asked how often they felt sad in the past week, how difficult it was for them to do anything, whether they had a poor appetite, etc.
During the study, 101 people suffered a stroke. Of these, 87 were ischemic strokes in which blood flow to a specific part of the brain was blocked. After adjusting for other factors that can influence the risk of the disease, such as diabetes, high blood pressure and smoking, the researchers found that people with increased symptoms of depression were 75% more likely to develop ischemic stroke than people without symptoms of depression. An increase in depression was associated with an increased risk of stroke.
Of 198 people with increased symptoms of depression, 22 subsequently developed ischemic stroke, compared with 65 of 906 people who had little or no symptoms.
Simonetto noted that further work is needed to confirm these results. According to her, this study does not prove that depression causes stroke, but it does show a definite connection between the two.
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