|Basic InformationMore InformationTestsLatest News|Taking Antidepressants During Pregnancy May Not Raise Autism RiskInsomnia Cure Boosts Success of Depression Treatment, Study FindsEven Football Heroes Can Be Laid Low by DepressionReview: Physical Activity May Prevent DepressionMigraines Tied to Raised Risk of Depression, Suicidal ThoughtsDepression During Pregnancy May Raise Risk of Psychiatric Trouble in KidsDepression Linked to Higher Risk of Parkinson's DiseaseAcupuncture, Counseling Improve Depression SymptomsBrintellix Approved for Major Depressive DisorderDepression May Be Worse When Accompanied by Anger, IrritabilityWinter Depression May Be Less Common Than BelievedContinuation Phase Cognitive Therapy Beneficial in DepressionCloseness Between Grandparents, Adult Grandkids May Ease DepressionPostpartum Depression Risk May Rise for New Moms in Big CitiesDepressed Preschoolers Show Brain Changes, Scans FindOlder, Cheap Drug May Cut Suicide Risk for People With Mood DisordersDepression, Antidepressants Tied to Heart Disease, Diabetes Risk in Older WomenDay Care May Help Kids of Depressed MomsSibling Bullying Can Lead to Depression, Anxiety in VictimsTalk Therapy Can Ease Depression, But No Single Type Deemed 'Best'Depression May Raise Low Blood Sugar Risk in DiabeticsGenes May Boost Woman's Risk of Postpartum DepressionReview: Exercise Indeed Beneficial for Major DepressionDepression May Boost Stroke Risk in Middle-Aged Women, TooAnti-Gay Bullying Tied to Teen Depression, SuicideDaily Gene Rhythms May Be Off in Depressed PeopleSome Antidepressants Linked to Bleeding Risk With SurgeryCollege Sports Could Raise Players' Risk for Depression, Study FindsAnother Danger of Depression?Study: Antidepressant Use in Pregnancy May Not Affect Baby's GrowthAnxiety, Depression May Triple Risk of Death for Heart Patients: StudyAbout 14 Percent of Moms Face Postpartum DepressionChildhood Depression May Be Tied to Later Heart Risk: StudyVision Loss, Depression May Be Linked, Study FindsDepressed Patients May Gain From Self-Help Books, WebsitesMilitary Women Exposed to Combat After Childbirth Face DepressionECT + SSRI Better for Major Depression Than Either AloneMaternal Depression, Violence at Home May Raise Child's ADHD RiskAntidepressants Celexa, Lexapro Tied to Irregular Heartbeat: StudyHealth Tip: Avoid the Winter BluesDepressed Stroke Survivors May Face Higher Early Death RiskHealth Tip: You May Have Seasonal Affective DisorderDiet Drinks Tied to Depression Risk in Older Adults: StudyWinter Depression May Require Treatment PlanBlood Protein Linked to Depression, Study FindsStress, Depression Linked to Raised Stroke Risk in SeniorsQuestions and AnswersVideosLinksBook Reviews
Stress, Depression Linked to Raised Stroke Risk in Seniors
by By Barbara Bronson Gray
Updated: Dec 13th 2012
THURSDAY, Dec. 13 (HealthDay News) -- Stressed out? A new study suggests that learning to deal effectively with life's challenges may help you reduce your risk of stroke, especially as you age.
Researchers found that people over 65 with the highest levels of psychosocial distress -- including depression, a negative outlook and dissatisfaction with life -- had triple the risk of death from stroke as compared with those who had lower levels of stress.
"Emotions have a significant impact on health, and people know when they're feeling stressed out," said study author Susan Everson-Rose, an associate professor of medicine at the University of Minnesota, in Minneapolis. "It's important that they recognize the physical impact of these psychological factors and practice relaxation techniques proactively."
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, stroke is the fourth leading cause of death in the United States and a leading cause of long-term disability.
The researchers were interested in finding risk factors for stroke that people could actually change. Previous studies have linked depression with increased stroke risk, especially in women, but some research focusing just on women has suggested that the risk may extend beyond sadness to include situations in which people develop a negative outlook on life. The authors wanted to test the concept on a broader population with a wider set of psychological issues.
The study, published online Dec. 13 and in the January print issue of the journal Stroke, used data from the 1997-1999 Chicago Health and Aging Project, research that involved interviews in participants' homes on the south side of Chicago. The surveyors asked 4,120 black and white adults aged 65 and older questions about their symptoms of depression, perceived stress, signs of anxiety, anger, feelings of vulnerability and life satisfaction. The researchers used standardized rating scales to identify the levels of stress the participants reported.
Factors such as race, age, gender, level of education attained, stroke risk, history of chronic health conditions and medications to control blood pressure or relieve depression were identified so they would not affect the conclusions drawn from the data. Notably, race and sex did not affect stroke risk, the study authors said.
Researchers identified 151 deaths from stroke and 452 events that led to being hospitalized for a stroke. The deaths were verified by the National Death Index and the hospitalizations were based on Medicare claims from the U.S. Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
The study showed that increasing levels of distress are related to increased risk of both fatal and nonfatal stroke in black and white seniors. The researchers also found that stress was associated with increased risk of hemorrhagic stroke, the type caused by a brain artery bleeding, but not by ischemic stroke, which is caused by a blood clot in an artery.
Dr. Ralph Sacco, chairman of neurology at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, explained how stress could be related to a stroke specifically caused by bleeding. "Increased blood pressure and abnormalities in blood clotting have previously been shown to be associated with stroke," he said.
Sacco noted that it was especially interesting that the researchers identified what is called a dose response: the most distressed participants experienced more than a twofold increased risk of stroke mortality and a 32 percent increased risk of stroke, compared with those who reported less stress.
"The study adds to the growing evidence that stress is a significant factor in cardiovascular disease and stroke," Sacco said.
The study found a link between greater levels of distress and stroke incidence in seniors. It did not prove cause-and-effect.
Learn more about how to deal with stress effectively from the American Heart Association.
This article: Copyright © 2012 HealthDay. All rights reserved.