Depression Linked to Future Stroke Risk in Middle-Aged Females

Published Online: Sunday, June 30, 2013
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Depression is a strong risk factor for stroke for women in their late 40s and 50s, according to a study published in Stroke.

Although there is already some evidence that depression is a risk factor for stroke, few studies looked specifically at this age range to determine whether women who fall into this category are more susceptible.

Researchers analyzed records from the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women’s Health and included 10,547 women aged 47 to 52 years from 1998 to 2010. The characterization of “depressed” was based on whether the women reported being on antidepressants in the previous 4 weeks or if they scored 10 or higher on the Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression scale.

Depression was determined to be a strong risk factor for stroke in middle-aged women.

“The association appears to be only partially accounted for by traditional stroke risk factors, highlighting the possible role of other risk factors, or biological mechanisms, such as proposed neuroendocrine and immunological/inflammatory pathways,” the authors wrote. “Further studies of midaged and older women from the same population are needed to confirm whether depression is particularly important in younger women and to inform targeted intervention approaches.”

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