Depression and Strokes

Published: August 14, 2012
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Men, but not women, who are depressed face an increased risk of suffering a stroke, study results suggest (J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry 2008; Advance online publication). Dr. Monique Breteler, from Erasmus Medical Center in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, and colleagues studied data on 4,424 people over 61 years of age who had not previously suffered a stroke. The participants were checked for depression at the start of the study and were followed until 2005, during which time 291 had suffered a stroke.

The researchers found that men who were depressed at the start of the studywere over twice as likely to have a stroke as men without depression.Interestingly, the risk of stroke was higher among men with milder depressionthan those whose depression had been severe enough to have been diagnosed earlier with the condition.

However, women who were depressed at the start of the study were no morelikely to suffer a stroke than those who were not depressed.

Dr. Breteler and team conclude: "Presence of depressive symptoms is an important risk factor for stroke in men, perhaps more so if depressive symptoms cannot be attributed to depressive disorder… Presence of depressive symptoms is not a risk factor for stroke in women."

Another study published in the January 1, 2005 issue of the American Heart Association Journal, Stroke, also found an association between depression and the risk of death and strokes in men.

The study evaluated a subset of 11,216 men who had completed a depression assessment near the end of the Multiple Risk Factor Intervention Trial (MRFIT), which recruited 12,866 men who were free of coronary heart disease but had increased risk factors, and followed them for 18 years. The risk of dying of stroke was twice that for those whose depression symptoms were in the top fifth of participants compared to the lowest fifth. The authors note that the effect of depression on stroke mortality as determined by this study is greater than smoking or cholesterol.

As metabolic syndrome, heart disease, stroke and depression can all be caused by a low testosterone level in men, this factor should be looked for and addressed in any man with these medical problems, as it is easily addressed with bioidentical natural testosterone. To find a physician trained in this area (they will usually be holistic) go to www.fibroandfatigue.com or www.holisticboard.org.

Jacob Teitelbaum, MD

is one of the world's leading integrative medical authorities on fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue. He is the lead author of four research studies on their treatments, and has published numerous health & wellness books, including the bestseller on fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome From Fatigued to Fantastic! and his newer The Fatigue and Fibromyalgia Solution.  Dr. Teitelbaum is one of the most frequently quoted fibromyalgia experts in the world and appears often as a guest on news and talk shows nationwide including Good Morning America, The Dr. Oz Show, Oprah & Friends, CNN, and Fox News Health. 

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