Depression linked to stoke risk in women

Posted on Monday, August 15th, 2011 in Health

Researchers from the US have suggested that women who suffer from depression may also have a higher risk of stroke.

In a recent study, researchers looked at the medical records of over 80,000 women aged between 54 and 79 in the period from 2000 to 2006. The records came from women who had been participating in the Nurses’ Health Study, which has been running since the 1970s.

None of the women involved in the study had had a stroke before, and approximately 22% had been diagnosed with depression. During the research period, 1,033 of the participants suffered a stroke.

The results indicated that those who suffered from depression were 29% more likely to suffer a stroke.

However, the study also revealed that depressed women were more likely to be single, have a smoking habit and tended to be less physically active. These women also tended to be younger, they had a higher body mass index (BMI) and consequently more of them suffered from conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure.

Dr An Pan, from the School of Public Health at Harvard, suggested that inflammation could be the mechanism which physically links stroke to depression. However, he also said: “Regardless of the mechanism, recognising that depressed individuals may be at a higher risk of stroke may help the physician focus on not only treating the depression, but treating stroke risk factors such as hypertension, diabetes and elevated cholesterol as well as addressing lifestyle behaviours such as smoking and exercise.”

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