Depression to Strokes?

by Lois Etienne on August 24, 2011

in Alzheimer's and Dementia,Senior Health and Safety

A study published recently in Stroke: Journal of the American Heart Association which followed 80,574 women ages 54 to 79 as part of the Nurses’ Health Study from 2000 to 2006, reports that women with a history of depression have a 29% greater risk of having a stroke than non-depressed women, and those who take antidepressants, particularly one’s such as Prozac or Zoloft, face a 39% higher risk.

Stroke is the third leading cause of death in the USA, after heart disease and cancer, and it hits 425,000 women a year, 55,000 more than men, the National Stroke Association says.

A stroke happens fast. Most people have two or more signs.

The most common signs are:

  • Sudden numbness or weakness of face, arm, or leg (mainly on one side of the body)
  • Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
  • Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, or loss of balance
  • Sudden confusion or trouble talking or understanding speech
  • Sudden bad headache with no known cause

To reduce risk of stroke, women can make changes in behavior — stop smoking, follow a healthier diet, exercise — and work with doctors to control diabetes and blood pressure. If you or a loved one might be depressed, talk to a doctor to see whether treatment is needed.

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