Depressed women have increased risk of stroke, claims study

12 August 2011

Heart problems and even increased rates of stroke have been linked to depression among women, new research has revealed.

In the Nurses' Health Study, conducted across six years and using data from over 80,000 women aged between 54 and 79, a 29 per cent increased risk of stroke among women who had depression was found.

The result that "depressed women may be at a higher risk of stroke merits additional research into preventive strategies in this group", argued Dr An Pan, lead author of the study and a research scientist at the Harvard School of Public Health.

Cumulative effects of conditions associated with depression, such as being overweight and addicted to tobacco, were cited as possible reasons why stroke was more probable in depressed women, according to the paper published in the American Heart Association's journal Stroke.

However, the research does seem to underline findings from scientists at the University of Michigan who claimed studies demonstrated that a positive outlook could significantly reduce the risk of heart problems.

Posted by Philip Briggs

1 Pan, An, Okereke, Olivia I., et al., " Depression and Incident Stroke in Women". Stroke: Journal of the American Heart Association. Thursday August 11th 2011.

2 Kim, Eric S. et al. "Dispositional Optimism Protects Older Adults From Stroke:
The Health and Retirement Study". Stoke: Journal of the American Heart Association. Thursday July 21st 2011.

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