A high number of depression symptoms are associated with ischemic stroke risk, according to the latest research findings.
Study author Marialaura Simonetto explained, “Depression is common and often goes untreated, so these results could hold great promise as we learn more about how depression may affect people’s risk for stroke and other cardiovascular problems and ultimately develop ways to prevent these problems. If people with depression are at elevated risk of stroke, early detection and treatment will be even more important.”
The study involved 1,104 participants with no prior history of stroke with an average age of 70. Participants were followed on average for 14 years.
The study found that 18 percent of participants had elevated depression symptoms, which were measured by questionnaires.
During the study, 101 participants had a stroke, with 87 of those being ischemic – a type of stroke where blood flow is blocked to the brain. After adjusting for other stroke risk factors, depressive symptoms were associated with a 75 percent higher risk of ischemic stroke. Every five-point increase in depressive symptom score was associated with a 12 percent higher risk of stroke.
Of the 198 participants with depressive symptoms, 22 went on to experience an ischemic stroke compared to the 65 of the 906 people who had low or no depressive symptoms.
The researchers suggest that additional research is required to confirm findings and better understand the underlying mechanisms which could link the two.