Depression May Up Women's Stroke Risk

In news that can only be called depressing, a new study suggests that depressed women have an elevated risk of stroke. And women who take antidepressants apparently have an even higher risk.

According to USA Today, a study of over 80,000 women found that those with a history of depression had a 29% higher stroke risk than those without. And women who were on antidepressants had a 39% higher risk. The study authors say there's no evidence to indicate that the medications actually cause strokes — rather, women who take them may simply suffer from more severe depression than those who don't. They also note that the study results shouldn't keep any women from taking antidepressants.

Depression has a number of physical effects, and it's not a surprise that it can have an impact on cardiovascular health — study authors note that the mental illness has been connected to stroke risk factors from inactivity to diabetes. Some of these connections may be behavioral — depressed people may find themselves unable to exercise, for instance. But troubles of the mind may also impact the body directly, in ways that aren't yet fully understood. It's certainly upsetting to know that a disease that's so painful in its own right is also linked to other dangerous conditions. But this should be a reminder to doubters that depression is a real and serious illness, and that the distinction between physical and mental ailments is not nearly as clear-cut as we often assume.

Depressed Women Have Higher Risk Of Stroke [USA Today]

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