TUESDAY, Sept. 20 (HealthDay News) -- People who are depressed
are at greater risk for suffering a stroke, a new study
Harvard researchers pointed out that the findings could have a
significant impact on public health since stroke is a leading cause
of death and permanent disability.
Researchers analyzed 28 previous studies, which involved a total
of almost 318,000 people and 8,478 stroke cases. The investigators
found that depression was associated with a 45 percent increased
risk for stroke and a 55 percent raised risk for fatal stroke.
The study, published in the Sept. 21 issue of the
Journal of the American Medical Association, also revealed that depression was linked to a 25 percent higher risk for ischemic stroke, which is caused by a blockage within a vessel supplying blood to the brain.
The researchers offered a number of explanations for the link
between depression and stroke, including:
- Having neuroendocrine (nervous and endocrine) and immune
systems with inflammation.
- Having poor health habits, such as smoking, being sedentary,
not taking medication or eating an unhealthy diet.
- Having other medical conditions that are also risk factors for
stroke, diabetes and high blood pressure.
"In conclusion, this meta-analysis provides strong evidence that depression is a significant risk factor for stroke. Given the high prevalence and incidence of depression and stroke in the general population, the observed association between depression and stroke has clinical and public health importance," study author An Pan, of Harvard School of Public Health, and colleagues explained in a news release from the journal.
The study authors noted that more studies are needed to explore
why depression increases the risk for stroke.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more on
risk factors for stroke.