Study Investigates the Link Between Depression and Stroke in Middle Aged Women
- Posted on: Sep 15 2016
According to previous studies, researchers have believed for some time that individuals who suffer a stroke may be more prone to depression following their event. In a more recent study, the correlation between the event and the chronic state of depression was studied in reverse, and the findings were quite interesting.
Approximately 10,500 women participated in the Australian study, which was conducted over a 12-year period. These women were aged 47-52 at the onset of the study. Each answered a survey regarding emotional state and use of antidepressants. Based on their responses, approximately 2,500 of the study participants were classified into a “depressed” group. Through the duration of the study, 177 of them suffered an initial stroke (no previous incident). Judging by this number, and the numbers in the control group, researchers concluded that depressed women may be as much as two-times more likely to suffer stroke than non-depressed women.
To say that a depressed woman is at a substantially greater risk of stroke is pretty bold. It is important to delve deeper into the findings of this landmark study in order to gain information that can be used proactively. Is it the depressed state in general that raises this risk, or is it the treatment of depression with medication?
Antidepressants are often SSRIs, or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors. This type of medication has, in fact, been associated with a higher risk for hemorrhagic stroke, or bleeding in the brain. However, those who conducted the 2012 study in which this risk was identified maintain that the chance of stroke due to SSRI use remains very low. What was gleaned from this research was that doctors may look for alternatives to SSRIs for patients with existing risk factors for stroke, such as the use of blood thinners, or excessive alcohol consumption.
Exploring the Theories
Research related to stroke and depression has been ongoing for several years. Some of the additional findings from various studies include theories such as:
- Inflammation occurs in the immune, endocrine, and nervous systems.
- Depression and stroke are both associated with poor lifestyle habits, such as unhealthy diet, smoking, and chronic stress.
- Other health conditions also factor in to the development of both stroke and depression, including high blood pressure and diabetes.
Depression is pandemic in today’s society, and it is a condition that should not go untreated. At the same time, it is responsible to investigate treatment options, both pharmaceutical and otherwise, in order to remain an advocate for your best health.