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Depression Increases Stroke Risk and Delays Recovery

Depression Increases Stroke Risk and Delays Recovery
Depression Increases Stroke Risk and Delays Recovery. Credit: Irais Esparza / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 4.0

A study published on Wednesday reveals that depression increases stroke risk and delays recovery. The study was published in the journal of Neurology.

Recent data by Statista reveals that 23% of women in the U.S. experienced depressive disorder symptoms from January 4 to January 16, 2023, compared to 22% of men. This statistic comes from a survey of U.S. respondents aged 18 or older reporting symptoms between April 23, 2020, and January 16, 2023, broken down by gender.

At the same time, stroke affects a significant number of individuals in the United States, with more than 795,000 people being impacted.

Of these, 610,000 are first-time or new stroke cases. Approximately 185,000 of these strokes – almost one in four – occur in individuals who have already experienced a previous stroke, according to CDC.

Higher risk of stroke for depression patients

The study involved 27,000 individuals with an average age of 62, half of whom had experienced a confirmed stroke.

Participants were matched with similar individuals who had not had a stroke and asked to complete questionnaires on heart disease risk factors, including high blood pressure and diabetes, as well as symptoms of depression.

The study revealed that 18% of participants who had experienced a stroke had symptoms of depression, compared to 14% of those who had not.

Neuroscience News reported that after adjusting for age, sex, education, physical activity, and other lifestyle factors, people with symptoms of depression before stroke had a 46% increased risk of stroke compared to those with no symptoms of depression.

“Our study provides a broad picture of depression and its link to the risk of stroke by looking at a number of factors, including participants’ symptoms, life choices, and antidepressant use. Our results show depressive symptoms were linked to increased stroke risk, and the risk was similar across different age groups and around the world,” said study author Robert P. Murphy of the University of Galway in Ireland.

Linear relation between depression symptoms and stroke

A linear relationship exists between the number of depression symptoms and the risk of stroke, according to the study.

Participants who reported five or more symptoms of depression had a 54% increased risk of stroke compared to those with no symptoms.

Those who reported three to four symptoms of depression had a 58% higher risk, while people who reported one to two symptoms had a 35% higher risk.

“In this study, we gained deeper insights into how depressive symptoms can contribute to stroke,” Murphy stated, as per the outlet. “Our results show that symptoms of depression can have an impact on mental health but also increase the risk of stroke. Physicians should be looking for these symptoms of depression and can use this information to help guide health initiatives focused on stroke prevention.”

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