Summary: Research suggests that long-term depression and it symptoms may double the risk of stroke for people aged 50 and above. The scientists also add diminishing symptoms of depression may not instantly mitigate the elevated risk of stroke.
According to the Journal Of The American Heart Association, constant depression may double the risk of stroke over age 50- and the risk remains higher even after the symptoms go away. The condition can also wreak havoc over the entire body, thereby increasing risk of health issues that at first do not seem remotely associated with feeling low. Such people are also at an increased risk for cardiovascular death and type 2 diabetes.
Paola Gilsanz, Sc.D., Yerby Postdoctoral Research person and lead author at T.H. Chan School Of Public Health at Harvard University said that “depression may augment the risk of stroke over the long term, according to the findings”.
Researchers also used data from approximately 16, 178 people, aged 50 and above, who had been interrogated as part of the Health and Retirement Study about the risk factors associated with stroke, history of stroke, and depression symptoms every two years from 1998 to 2010. The study revealed approximately 1192 strokes over a period of 12 year as compared to people without depression at either interrogation:
. People suffering from high depression symptoms at two consecutive interrogations were more than twice as likely to have the first stroke.
. People who already had depression symptoms at their first interrogation, but not the second had approximately 66 percent higher risk of stroke.
Researchers did not assess whether the symptoms decreased because of the treatment or some other reason. However, the findings of the study suggest that if treatment of depression, even if extremely effective, may not have any instant benefits for the risk of stroke. They also suggest that decreased depression may have a stronger impact on women as compared to men. However, its recent onset was not linked with higher risk of stroke.
Gilsanz also said that “Looking at how these changes in the symptoms of depression over time may be linked with strokes also allowed us to see if the risk augments after elevated symptoms of depression begin, or if risk goes away when the symptoms of depression do”. We were astonished that changes in the symptoms of depression take over two years to elevate or protect against the risk of stroke.
Previous research has also shown that depression is linked with an increased blood pressure, augmented inflammatory responses, and abnormal functioning of the autonomic nervous system. Depression may trigger atrial fibrillation, infections or underlying vascular problems, and such people are more likely to be physically inactive.
Maria Glymour, Sc. D., the associate professor of biostatistics and epidemiology, and senior author at San Francisco School Of Medicine, at the University of California also said that “although we know that depression immensely predicts stroke along with many other risk factors of stroke, but we still need more research, in order to comprehend exactly why connection occurs and whether we can potentially alleviate the risk of stroke by treating depression”.