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Depression: Does It Increase the Risk of Stroke?

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A reader of Scientific American Consumer Health's Depression and Anxiety White Paper asks:Does being depressed increase my risk of having a stroke?

A recent study in the Journal of the American Heart Association suggests that people who are depressed have a higher risk of having a stroke than those who arenít depressed. And this increased risk may last even after the symptoms of depression go away.

Researchers looked at the rate of stroke and depression among just over 16,000 people (average age: 66) who didnít have a history of stroke. Participants were interviewed every two years for approximately nine years.

Based on their pattern of depressive symptoms, participants were categorized as stable high, meaning they had elevated symptoms of depression at two consecutive interviews; recently remitted, meaning their depressive symptoms went away between the first and second interviews; recent onset, meaning they had depressive symptoms at the second interview, but not at the first; and stable low/no depressive symptoms, meaning they didnít have elevated symptoms at either interview.

Overall, almost 1,200 people in the study had a stroke. The risk of stroke was about double for people with consistently elevated symptoms, compared with those who had stable low or no depressive symptoms. This risk also was increased in people whose symptoms had gone away by their second interview.

If youíve been diagnosed with depression, ask your doctor if you should be checked for other factors that might increase your risk of having a stroke.†

Posted in Depression and Anxiety on January 11, 2016


Medical Disclaimer: This information is not intended to substitute for the advice of a physician. Click here for additional information: Health After 50 Disclaimer


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Scientific American White Papers

The focus of the 2016 Depression and Anxiety White Paper is on understanding and successfully coping with the most common mood and anxiety disorders.

Click here to read more or order




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