Depression Increases the Risk for Stroke

In research appearing in the January, 2007 issue of the journal Stroke, over 4,000 subjects who were part of the Framingham Heart Study were monitored over an eight-year period. The subjects had scores on a standard depression scale (called CES-D) averaging six. Eleven percent of the subjects scored 16 or higher—these patients were considered depressed.

A total of 144 strokes and 84 TIAs (a TIA is a “transient ischemic attack”—what is commonly called a mini-stroke) occurred in the group over the course of the study. The subjects under the age of 65 who scored higher than 16 on CES-D were four times more likely to have a stroke than someone in the same age group with low depression scores.

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