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THURSDAY, Aug. — Depressed women may be at greater risk for stroke, new research indicates.

“We understand that stroke can raise risk of depression, but depression itself may raise risk of future stroke,” said study author A Pan, a research scientist at the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston.

“Depression is connected with hormonal changes in the body and affects chemicals in the brain, and we realize that depression might be a marker for vascular disease,” he said. “Depression can also be related to obesity, hypertension, and people who have depression tend to be prone to smoke and be physically inactive and not take their medication consistently.”

Women with a history of depression were 29 percent much more likely to truly have a stroke during six years of follow up, which finding held even when researchers controlled for other variables proven to improve stroke risk. What’s more, women who took antidepressants had a 39 percent increased risk of stroke.

The analysis was published online Aug. 11 in the journal Stroke.

The jury is out in terms of the function that antidepressants have in upping stroke danger, Pan said. “We do not understand whether drugs raise risk of stroke or if medicine is a marker for severity of depression.”

Depressed girls were more apt smoke, to be single and be physically active than their non-depressed counterparts, the study demonstrated. They were slightly younger, had a higher body mass index and more coexisting conditions for example high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes.

Pan and co-workers followed 80,574 women aged 54 to 79 who took part in the to 2006 and had Nurses’ Health Study from 2000 no prior history of stroke. Melancholy was evaluated by means of a standardized tool quantifying symptoms, antidepressant prescriptions, or a diagnosis of depression from a doctor. Overall, 22 percent of girls were depressed or had a history of depression when the study started, and there were 1,033 strokes during six years of followup. Specifically, 538 girls had ischemic stroke, the most typical form of stroke, which can be the result of a blockage like a blood clot, and 124 girls had hemorrhagic or bleeding stroke, which happens when a blood vessel in the brain blasts.

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“For those who have depression, see a doctor and get diagnosed,” he said. “Treating your depression is vital to reduce your future threat of cardiovascular disease, and for those who have depression, you probably possess some other lifestyle variables which you have to alter.”

Dr. Alan Manevitz, a psychiatrist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, concurred. “Depression is associated with poor health behaviours including poor diet, lack of drug compliance and deficiency of exercise, all of which can build up stroke hazard.”

Depression can also cause biological changes that may raise risk and may be a warning sign of stroke, he explained. Most of exactly the same lifestyle changes that help treat depression will also lower risk for stroke such as eating a nutritious diet, sleeping well engaging in regular physical activity and not smoking, he explained.

Dr. Cathy Sila, manager of the Stroke & Cerebrovascular Centre at University Hospitals Case Medical Center in Cleveland, called the findings “provocative.” The study just looked at women, but the findings probably apply to guys as well, she included.

Sila said that more research is needed to better comprehend the connection between depression and stroke. “There are important differences between depressed women and non-depressed girls,” she said. “Women that are depressed are much more likely to have diabetes, hypertension and high cholesterol, be overweight and sedentary, all of which are known to increase risk for stroke.”

Lifestyle changes can help lower stroke risk, but it’s demanding to make these changes when you are depressed, she said. “We need to know how depression works against individuals making the kind of changes they have to make,” she said. “This study opens up a whole host of questions.”

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