Urgent warning to anyone suffering from depression of the risk of a hidden killer

DEPRESSION can be an early warning sign of a deadly condition – a stroke.

The mental illness has been found to be more common in people who have had a stroke in the years prior.

Depression could be an early warning sign of depression, experts say

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Depression could be an early warning sign of depression, experts sayCredit: Alamy

A stroke, which occurs more frequently over the age of 55, kills 38,000 people annually.

Many of the 62,000 survivors have a range of problems, from reading, swallowing and speaking difficulties to bladder and balance problems.

Depression is a common problem for people who have already had a stroke, as is anxiety.

Depression is thought to affect around five per cent of the UK population, with people of all ages and backgrounds being diagnosed.

But this study suggests it’s not just more common after a stroke.

Study author Maria Blohl, from the University of Munster in Germany, said: “Depression is one of the most pressing problems for people who have had a stroke, and it is so common that it is referred to as post-stroke depression.

“But our study found that not only does depressive symptoms increase significantly after a stroke, but that people had already developed some depressive symptoms before the stroke even happened.”

The researchers studied 10,797 adults with an average age of 65 who had not had a stroke.

They were followed for up to 12 years, and during that time 425 people suffered a stroke, which also carries risk factors for high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes.

Every two years, people were asked if they had had symptoms of depression in the past week.

These included depression, loneliness, sadness, feeling like everything was an effort, and restless sleep.

The more symptoms they had, the higher their score.

The study found that those who had had a stroke had similar depression scores as those who had not had a stroke six years previously.

However, about two years before the stroke, dozens of people who had a stroke began to gain weight.

After a stroke, depressive symptoms increased and remained high for a decade after the stroke.

In contrast, the scores of the people who didn’t have a stroke stayed about the same throughout the study.

At the time of the stroke, 34 percent of people met criteria for probable depression, compared to 24 percent of those who hadn’t had a stroke.

The study was match-controlled, meaning people who did and did not have a stroke were paired based on the fact that they shared similar characteristics, to avoid confusion about potential risk factors.

Ms Blohl said: “This suggests that increasing symptoms of pre-stroke depression are mostly subtle changes and may not always be clinically detectable.

“But even a slight increase in depressive symptoms, especially mood and fatigue-related symptoms, can be a signal of an imminent stroke.”

She added: “Whether these pre-stroke changes can be used to predict who will have a stroke is unclear.

“Why exactly depressive symptoms occur before a stroke needs to be investigated in future research.

“The study also underscores why physicians need long-term monitoring for symptoms of depression in people who have had a stroke.”

The results are published in the journal Neurology.

https://www.the-sun.com/health/health-news/5773490/urgent-warning-anyone-suffers-depression-risk-hidden-killer/ Urgent warning to anyone suffering from depression of the risk of a hidden killer

Sarah Y. Kim

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