Depression, as a common variant among those who have suffered a stroke, has also become a risk factor that encourages stroke, according to the scientists.
After pointing out in a previous study that depression may well act as a possible warning of a future stroke, a recent work, again published in the online version of the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology (AAN), alias the so-called ‘Neurology ‘, revealed once again the connecting link between cerebrovascular disease (CVA) and the psychological disturbance of the emotional state that unbalances mental health (depression).
Science once again shows that depression and stroke are closely linked
According to this study, those who manifest clear symptoms of depression may be at greater risk of suffering a stroke in the long term, which in turn makes them more likely to have a worse recovery after experiencing a stroke.
“Depression affects people all over the world and can have a wide range of impacts on a person’s life,” said Robert P. Murphy, study author and fellow at the University of Galway, Ireland.
This is a work that had as its starting point the participation of 26,877 adults in the INTERSTROKE study; people from a total of 32 countries distributed between Europe and Africa, Asia and the Middle East, North America and South America, whose average age was around 62 years old. The investigation details that more than 13,000 of them suffered a stroke, on the one hand, and that they were matched with another group of people composed of more than 13,000 participants; Thus, although both groups were similar in gender and age and ethnic or racial identity, they differed from the first in that they had not suffered a stroke.
“Our study offers a broad view of depression and its relationship with stroke risk, looking at several factors, including participants’ symptoms, life choices and antidepressant use”, in the detailed words of Murphy, who did not hesitate to point out in the next line that their results “show that depressive symptoms were associated with an increased risk of stroke and that the risk was similar across age groups and across the world.”
During the first phase of the study, the participants had to fill out several questionnaires placed by the researchers, who, by the way, had been collecting information about the symptoms of depression for a year; questions with the objective of knowing if they were hypertensive or diabetic, more precisely, or if they had some other cardiovascular risk factor. They were also asked if they had felt sad and/or melancholic in the last 12 months, or if they had been depressed for two consecutive weeks or more. What did they discover from all this?
That 18% of those who had a stroke had symptoms of depression even before the stroke, compared with 14% of those who didn’t suffer the hard blow of a stroke. And despite adjusting the results for the participants’ age and gender, as well as their physical activity, education and other lifestyle factors, the researchers found that people with symptoms of depression before their stroke had a 46% greater risk of having a stroke. leakage. than those who did not previously have symptoms of depression.
What is the most curious thing about this statistic?
The more symptoms participants gathered about themselves, the more points their stroke risk earned. And more; although volunteers who had clinical symptoms of depression were not more likely to have more severe strokes, they accumulated a greater decline to have worse outcomes one month after the stroke, compared with those who had not previously had depressive symptoms.
“In this study, we investigated how depressive symptoms can contribute to stroke,” added Murphy, adding that “our results show that symptoms of depression can impact mental health, but also increase the risk of stroke. ».
In fact, and in his opinion, “physicians should be aware of these symptoms of depression”, as “they can use this information to help guide health initiatives focused on stroke prevention”; an opinion with which, by the way, the other physicians of his research team also agree.