Depression Symptoms Associated with Higher Stroke Risk
The ongoing INTERSTROKE study, which involves thousands of people from 32 nations around the world, has studied numerous stroke risk factors, with the goal of reducing the prevalence of stroke, which remains a major cause of disability and death globally. In a recent finding, INTERSTROKE researchers noted that people who have symptoms of depression may have an increased risk of having a stroke. The findings, published in Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology, also suggest that the more depression symptoms a person has, the greater the stroke risk. It’s not entirely clear how depression symptoms may affect stroke risk, but researchers suggest that lifestyle choices, antidepressant use, and other factors may be contributing factors. Depression is a risk factor for high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease, so the association with higher stroke risk is not surprising. It’s well established that depression can affect physical health in many ways, through changes in the activity of certain neurotransmitters (serotonin and norepinephrine, for example) and through unhealthy choices in diet, exercise, alcohol and drug use, and other lifestyle behaviors. While there are many reasons to seek help if you are experiencing any depressive symptoms, also consider how treating depression may positively impact your risk of stroke and related complications.
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