Depression Raises Stroke Risk in Younger Women

Being depressed is known to increase the risk for stroke. Now a new study suggests that the association is even stronger in younger women.

Australian researchers studied 10,457 women, average age 52, without a history of stroke, surveying them every three years for 12 years. Using a well-validated depression scale, they found that about 24 percent were depressed at each survey. The study, published online this month in the journal Stroke, found 177 strokes over the study period.

Being depressed nearly doubled the risk for stroke, even after the researchers accounted for other risk factors like age, education, high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, smoking, alcohol intake, physical activity and body mass index.

A study published in 2011 on the same subject found an increased risk of only 30 percent, but the average age in the study was 14 years older, and at least one analysis found no increased risk at all in people over 65.

“The study adds to the evidence around depression and increased risk of stroke. And it’s possibly even stronger in younger women,” said the lead author, Caroline A. Jackson, an epidemiologist at the University of Queensland. “But it’s important to remember that this is a relatively small study, and it needs to be explored in a much larger population.”

Article from NY Times Blog.