by C. Markus on October 3rd, 2011 at 7:00 am
A recent article posted by the Journal of the American Medical Association has found that people with depression are more likely to suffer from a stroke. According to An Pan, Ph.D., one of the lead analysts of the report, if you have depression but no other health concerns, you most likely have nothing to worry about.
However, for people with high blood pressure and unhealthy lifestyles, the risk factor rises significantly. The report pulls from 28 other studies dating back to the mid 1990’s and included about 318,000 people. Pan found that people who showed signs of depression were 45% more likely to suffer a stroke and 55% more likely to die from one. Pan says they have known for years that depression increases the risks of diabetes, obesity, hypertension, and cardiovascular disease.
Depression can lead to a stroke in many ways. People who are depressed are more likely to lead unhealthy lifestyles, smoke, drink, and neglect their bodies. This directly leads to an increased risk. In addition, there are other factors, which are harder to measure. Depression increases the production of stress hormones, which have been shown to inflame blood vessels to dangerous levels. Another factor could be medications. People who are depressed are more likely to neglect taking medications which prevent stroke-related diseases, such as high blood pressure and diabetes. This could go both ways, people who are depressed may start taking medications and many of these medications have been shown to increase obesity, a known factor for increased stroke risk.
According to the report, depression is responsible for an additional 106 strokes per 100,000 people. Depression may not be the biggest risk factor for strokes, but it is something doctors and patients should take into consideration.
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