Depression is a risk factor for stroke

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After reviewing the records of over 300,000 patients, researchers discovered that depression is linked with a considerably increased risk of developing stroke and stroke-related death. The research is published in JAMA.

“Stroke is the leading cause of death and permanent disability, with significant economic losses due to functional impairments. Depression is highly prevalent in the general population, and it is estimated that 5.8 percent of men and 9.5 percent of women will experience a depressive episode in a 12-month period. The lifetime incidence of depression has been estimated at more than 16 percent in the general population,” according to the JAMA report. The relationship between depression and stroke remains unclear and may not be causal, but there is a connection.

Researchers conducted a systematic review and a meta-analysis of prospective cohort investigations to explain the connection between depression and stroke. They identified 28 prospective cohort studies and included them in the examination. It included over 300,000 patients over a period of 29 years.

It revealed that depression was linked with an increased risk of 45% for stroke, 55% increased risk for fatal stroke, and a 25% increased risk for ischemic stroke. There was no connection between depression and hemorrhagic stroke.

Depression might contribute to stroke by having known neuroendocrine and immunological/inflammation effect, poor health behaviors and obesity or by having other comorbidities such as diabetes and hypertension which are huge risk factors for stroke. Antidepressant medications may also increase risk of stroke. The report concluded, “More studies are needed to explore the underlying mechanisms and elucidate the causal pathways that link depression and stroke.”

Source: JAMA, MedicalNewsToday


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