Depression leaves permanent, higher stroke risk: Study

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Depression can cause irreversible damage leading to stroke even after depressive symptoms have subsided, according to new research.

Reporting on their recent study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, researchers concluded that persistently high depressive symptoms were associated with increased stroke risk. Even if depressive symptoms subsided over a two-year period, stroke risk remains high. The researchers noted that their findings suggest that cumulative etiologic mechanisms provide a definitive link between depression and stroke.

After interviewing more than 16,000 stroke-free, 65-and-older men and women over a two-year period, researchers then examined the cases of the 1,192 who subsequently suffered strokes. They discovered high stroke risks among participants who had suffered depression but later were symptom-free. The researchers used a modified Center for Epidemiologic Studies depression scale.

Increased stroke risks were significant among women and non-Hispanic whites who had been diagnosed with depression, the researchers reported.