Depressed Women: Highly at Risk for stroke

The news source is Medical News Today and the study was conducted by Brigham and Womenís Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts.

A study conducted recently confirmed that women suffering from depression are 29% more at risk of having stroke while those who are in SSRI (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor) treatment are 10% higher.

Depression, as defined by an unknown author, is a "whole-body" illness, involving the body, mood, and thoughts. It affects the way a person eats and sleeps, the way one feels about oneself, and the way one thinks about things. It can be considered as a disorder if it involves feelings of sadness lasting for two weeks or longer, often accompanied by a loss of interest in life, hopelessness, and decreased energy.

The study was based from a six-year follow-up in the Nurses' Health Study involving 80,574 women aged 54 to 79 years from 2000 to 2006. The researchers assessed symptoms of depression several times with a Mental Health Index. Every 24 months, since 1996, patientsí use of anti-depressants was reported and doctors diagnosed depression starting in 2000 as either a history or a current diagnosis. It was then later found out that 22% of the women had depression at baseline and there were 1,033 cases of stroke.

The result was that none had a history of stroke. However, Dr. Kathryn Rexrode, one of the senior authors, pointed out that the medications are not solely the main cause of the risk and the study does not suggest that people should stop their medications to reduce the risk of stroke. They also found that most women with depression were smokers, with a higher body mass index, younger, less physically active, and single compared to those with no history of depression. Also, they tended to have more coexisting conditions, such as diabetes, hypertension or heart disease.

With that scenario, everyone is reminded that if medicines are taken regularly and healthy lifestyle measures such as exercising daily are pursued, then, diseases such as diabetes and hypertension can be prevented. On the other hand, depression may be linked to a higher risk of stroke due to inflammation, an underlying vascular disease in the brain, or some other mechanisms as explained by senior author An Pan PhD.

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