Depression doubles the risk of stroke for women

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According to a new study, depression doubles the risk of having a stroke in middle-aged women.

The 12-year research study of more than 10,000 Australian women showed that depressed women had a 2.4 times higher likelihood of stroke than those who were not suffering from some kind of depression. Even after adjusting for other independent factors known to cause risk, the depressed women were still 1.9 times more likely to experience stroke.

Doctors need to recognize effects of poor mental health

“When treating women, doctors need to recognize the serious nature of poor mental health and what effect it can have in the long term,” said Caroline Jackson, PhD, epidemiologist in the School of Population Health at the University of Queensland in Australia. “Current guidelines for stroke prevention tend to overlook the potential role of depression.”

Data came from a 12-year study

The research data was based on the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women’s Health. Between 1998 and 2010, every third year the women were asked about their mental health, physical ailments and any other relevant information.

After analyzing the responses, researchers found that about 24 percent of the women, aged 47 to 52, were depressed. Self-reported instances and death records confirmed that 177 first-time strokes occurred during the time period. Statistical software confirmed the link between depression and stroke.

Targeted approach to prevention is needed

“We may need more targeted approaches to prevent and treat depression among younger women because it could have a much stronger impact on stroke for them now rather than later in life,” said Jackson.

Source: MedicalNewsToday, Stroke: Journal of the American Heart Association

 
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