12 January 2013

Post Stroke Depression Increases Risk of Death By A Factor of Three

Stroke is the leading cause of death and disability for 2012 in the U.S. This is according to the American Heart Association.

The most widely recognized risk factors for stroke are diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure, cigarette smoking, and lack of exercise. But these factors does not fully account for the excess stroke risk observed in the population. Drug and alcohol use are some of the factors that are not as documented.

There are also factors that affect the risk of stroke that cannot be controlled. These are age, sex, race, and family and medical history.

For people who suffered a stroke, the number of risk factors of suffering another stroke increase. One factor that is being studied is depression.

Depression results from the frustration of not being able to live normally after a stroke. The need for medical care, temporary paralysis, cognitive problems, and motor and speech impediments are some of the results of a stroke. This affects the patient as the treatment and therapy process is long and difficult. Depression sets in because of this.

Post-stroke depression (PSD) is considered the most frequent and important neuropsychiatric consequence of stroke.

Risk and Post Stroke Depression

People who are depressed after a stroke may have a tripled risk of dying early and four times the risk of death from stroke than people who have not experienced a stroke or depression, according to a study released today that will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology's 65th Annual Meeting in San Diego, March 16 to 23, 2013.

"Up to one in three people who have a stroke develop depression," said study author Amytis Towfighi, MD, with the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California and Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center in Los Angeles, and a member of the American Academy of Neurology. "This is something family members can help watch for that could potentially save their loved one."

Towfighi noted that similar associations have been found regarding depression and heart attack, but less is known about the association between stroke, depression and death.

Video: Stroke Recovery: Depression and Anxiety

The research included 10,550 people between the ages of 25 and 74 followed for 21 years. Of those, 73 had a stroke but did not develop depression, 48 had stroke and depression, 8,138 did not have a stroke or depression and 2,291 did not have a stroke but had depression.

After considering factors such as age, gender, race, education, income level and marital status, the risk of dying from any cause was three times higher in individuals who had stroke and depression compared to those who had not had a stroke and were not depressed. The risk of dying from stroke was four times higher among those who had a stroke and were depressed compared to people who had not had a stroke and were not depressed.

"Our research highlights the importance of screening for and treating depression in people who have experienced a stroke," said Towfighi. "Given how common depression is after stroke, and the potential consequences of having depression, looking for signs and symptoms and addressing them may be key."


American Academy of Neurology
American Heart Association
Keck School of Medicine - University of Southern California
Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center
Impairments in Brain Involved in Post Stroke Depression (PSD)
Coffee Lowers Risk of Depression While Diet Drinks Increase Risk
Stroke Victims Can Improve Cognitive Ability By 50% Through Physical Exercise In Six Months
Omega-3 In Fish Could Reduce Risk of Postpartum Depression
Understanding How The Brain Spatially Represents Object and Action Categories Through fMRI
Mind Reading Device Allow Mute and Disabled To Communicate With Others
Freud's Theory On Unconscious Conflict And Conscious Symptoms of Anxiety Disorder Under Study