Depression provokes strokes
Depression can increase your risk of stroke. This applies in particular if the mental illness is recognized too late and not treated. The extent of the increased risk, according to the scientists led by Frank Hu from the Harvard School of Public Health, should be as high as smoking tobacco.
Many people do not know about their illness and blame mood swings, persistent sadness or social neglect on external circumstances or functional illnesses. It has long been known that there is a risk context between depression, high blood pressure, diabetes and heart attacks. The psyche therefore has a decisive influence on the physical condition of people. What is new is that untreated and long-lasting depression not only reduce the quality of life, but also significantly increase the risks of a (stroke). The researchers report Harvard School of Public Health. If depressive episodes or manifested depression are treated in good time, according to the study results, four out of a hundred strokes could be prevented. Accordingly, depression could be as high a factor in the development of a stroke as the regular consumption of cigarettes.
During the study phase, the research team evaluated 28 cohort studies, which are a special form of panel examinations (meta-analyzes). The data included a total of 320,000 subjects whose course of the disease was followed up to 29 years. Around 8,500 participants suffered a stroke during the period examined. The result: Those who suffered from depression showed a 45 percent risk of apoplexy. In addition, the death rate in an insult increased by 55 percent if the patient was also depressed. Already a study conducted in 2005 came to similar worrying results. However, the data could not be saved at that time because the number of participants was too small for a specific statement.
Unhealthy lifestyle for depression
The researchers can only speculate as to why there is a visible connection. It is obvious that mentally ill people usually have an unhealthy lifestyle and therefore increase the disease rate through self-administered risk substances (fatty food, smoking, alcohol consumption). This explains why depressed patients have an increased risk of cardiovascular diseases. In addition, prescribed medications such as antidepressants could promote an increase in body weight. Being overweight is another risk factor for strokes.
In addition, biological disease processes are also discussed. According to this, doctors suspect that depression activates the sympathetic nervous system and provokes platelet dysfunction or an increase in the C-reactive protein. These processes could also increase the risk of stroke. Based on the current state of knowledge, it is only possible to make assumptions here because there is no secure data.
The extent of the results becomes clear when the disease rate is consulted using Germany as an example. Around four million people in Germany suffer from depression, although the number of unreported cases is likely to be significantly higher. Experts estimate that around ten percent of the German population will develop a depressive phase or a developed depression during their lifetime. In comparison, strokes are the third most common disease in Germany and, according to recent surveys, the third most common cause of death (7.9 percent of all causes of death). The study results were published in the medical journal "Jama". (sb)
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