New research shows that people who are depressed may be a little more likely than others to suffer from a stroke down the road.
After nearly 28 studies involving more than 300,000 people, researchers estimated there would be 106 extra cases of stroke per 100,000 depressed people each year, 22 of them fatal.
But, don't reach for the antidepressants just yet, because the study has major limitations.
Depression affects quality of life, heart disease, and stroke risk, says Ralph Sacco, MD, the chair of neurology at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine and the immediate past president of the American Heart Association.
During a follow-up period that ranged for two to 29 years, there were 8,478 strokes, researchers noted.
Depressed people turned out to be 45 percent more likely to experience any type of stroke than those who were not depressed, and had a 55 percent increased risk for dying from that stroke.
Depression is prevalent and is probably under-detected and under-treated. So this is another reason to think about monitoring people for depression and getting them the proper treatment, says Sacco, who was not involved in the new study.
Researchers said depression and stroke combined kills about 137,000 Americans each year.
In an earlier study, he found depressed people who take antidepressants appeared to have an increased risk of stroke compared with depressed people who weren't on the drugs.
These medications could be one possible reason for the increased risk of stroke in depression and the majority of studies did not control for this, An Pan, PhD, research scientist at the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, told Reuters Health.