Stroke: Journal of the American Heart Association published a study Thursday that said that women with a history of depression face a 29 percent increased risk of stroke. Furthermore, women who take antidepressants, especially selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors face a 39 percent increased risk.
"Depression has now been linked to stroke as well as cardiovascular disease in general," the study's senior author and associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School Kathryn Rexrode said according the USA Today. Rexrode added the following disclaimer: "These are modest elevations in risk" and depressed women should continue to take antidepressants.
Rexrode also said that there is no direct correlation between use of antidepressant medications and risk of stroke, the third leading cause of death in the U.S.
Lead researcher An Pan of the Harvard School of Public Health said that this is probably due to more severe depression in depressed patients who take antidepressants, USA Today reported. Depression has long been linked to risk factors for stroke like high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, smoking, and lack of physical exercise.
The study evaluated 80,574 women aged 54 to 79. 22 percent of the women said that they suffer from depression which is consistent with the national prevalence (20 percent) in women. More than 1,033 women suffered strokes over the course of the study.
Depression is twice more likely to strike women than men and the reasons in differences are unknown. The media's profound emphasis on physical beauty in women is one potential factor.
425,000 and 370,000 men suffer strokes every year.