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  • A Link Between Depression and Stroke


    With all the recent news surrounding the prevalence of Stroke, and its scary inclination towards striking people seemingly in the prime of their lives, we thought it would be a good week to talk about some new findings.

    While the exact cause of Ischemic Stroke is unclear, and in most cases a layered set of circumstances, a recent study is detecting a link between Depression and Stroke. The results of the 1,100 person controlled study will be presented in May at the America Academy of Neurology’s annual meeting. The study involved about 1,100 people living in New York City; the participants had an average age of 70 and had never had a stroke. At the start of the study, participants filled out a survey designed to measure symptoms of depression, such as feeling sad or feeling like everything is an effort. Based on the survey, the people were given a depression score ranging from 0 to 60, with scores over 16 considered "elevated."

    Participants were then followed for 14 years, and during this time, about 100 of them had a stroke. Those who reported elevated symptoms of depression were 75 percent more likely to have an ischemic stroke — the most common type of stroke — than those without symptoms of depression. (Ischemic strokes happen when blood flow to part of the brain is blocked.) [7 Ways to Recognize Depression in 20-Somethings]

    Overall, about 11 percent of the participants with elevated depression scores had a stroke, compared with just 7 percent of those with low or no symptoms of depression.

    Given the sudden onset of some Stroke events, it’s always a good idea to keep an eye out for the signs and symptoms of Depression in Seniors. While it’s not an inclusive list, here are some top warning signals that may indicate a loved one or patient may need to be evaluated:

    · Persistent sad, anxious, or "empty" mood

    · Feelings of hopelessness, guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness

    · Irritability, restlessness, or having trouble sitting still

    · Loss of interest in once pleasurable activities, including sex

    · Decreased energy or fatigue

    · Moving or talking more slowly

    · Difficulty concentrating, remembering, making decisions

    · Difficulty sleeping, early-morning awakening, or oversleeping

    · Eating more or less than usual, usually with unplanned weight gain or loss

    · Thoughts of death or suicide, or suicide attempts

    · Aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems without a clear physical cause and/or that do not ease with treatment

    · Frequent crying

    Please be sure to consult your physicians if these symptoms are present.

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