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Published on: August 14, 2011
by Press TV
A study of over 80,000 women, aged 54 to 79 found those with a history of depression had a 29 percent higher risk of stroke than non-depressed counterparts.
A six-year follow-up also showed that women who took antidepressants, particularly selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs (such as Prozac or Zoloft), were 39 percent more likely to experience a stroke, says the report published in the journal Stroke.
“Although we found women who took antidepressants were at higher risk, I don’t have anything to indicate it’s because of the medications,” noted co-author Kathryn Rexrod who suggests that women on medication treatment might suffer from more severe symptoms than those who don’t opt for the pills.
“I don’t think the medications themselves are the primary cause of the risk. This study does not suggest that people should stop their medications to reduce the risk of stroke,” she further emphasized.
The findings also showed that depressed women were more likely to have stroke risk factors such as being single, smoker and physically inactive. Moreover, they had a higher body mass index (BMI) and more coexisting conditions such as high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes and possibly more inflammation risk.
“Depression can prevent individuals from controlling other medical problems such as diabetes and hypertension, from taking medications regularly or pursuing other healthy lifestyle measures such as exercise,” Rexrode noted.
“Regardless of the mechanism, recognizing that depressed individuals may be at a higher risk of stroke may help the physician focus on not only treating the depression, but treating stroke risk factors such as hypertension, diabetes and elevated cholesterol as well as addressing lifestyle behaviors such as smoking and exercise,” An Pan, the other co-author suggested.
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