Depression may be a precursor to a stroke

(ORDO NEWS) — Scientists have shown that depressive symptoms can develop not only after a stroke, but also several years before it.

In addition, the stroke itself significantly increases the manifestations of depression, and this effect persists for several years.

Depression is a common problem in people who have had a stroke. This condition is called post-stroke depression.

Depression sometimes precedes a stroke, according to a new study by an international team of scientists.

The researchers found that depressive symptoms often appeared some time before a stroke and worsened markedly afterward.

The sample included 10,797 people with an average age of 65 years. None of them had a history of stroke at the start of follow-up.

The studies lasted 12 years, during which time 425 people from the sample suffered a stroke. Every two years, participants completed a survey assessing the severity of their depressive symptoms, such as low mood, increased fatigue, sleep disturbance, and so on.

In the six years before a stroke, people who subsequently had a stroke and those who didn’t have had, on average, about the same scores on tests for depression.

On average, 24% of the subjects had symptoms. However, approximately two years before the stroke, the symptoms became significantly more pronounced, the probability of depression was already 29%.

In addition, after a stroke, the risk rose to 34% compared with the same 24% in the group of people who did not have a stroke. Symptoms of depression that progressed after a stroke remained as pronounced over the next 10 years.

Increasing signs of depression before a stroke are mostly minor changes and are not always clinically detectable.

But even a slight increase in depressive symptoms, especially those associated with mood and fatigue, can be a signal of stroke risk.

In the future, the researchers plan to find out whether depressive symptoms can be used to predict stroke, and to understand what mechanisms cause depressive symptoms in the years before a stroke.

The researchers also highlight the need for doctors to track symptoms of depression in people who have had a stroke over a long period of time.

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