ISLAMABAD: A new study has concluded that middle-aged women who suffer from depression are almost twice as likely to have a stroke.
Researchers in a study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, said that it was unclear why such a strong link between depression and stroke had been found, but that it was possible that inflammatory and immunological responses to depression could have an impact on blood vessels.
The study found that depressed women had a 2.4 times increased risk of stroke, compared to those who weren't depressed, which reduced to 1.9 times the risk when other factors increasing stroke risk were excluded.
Study author Doctor Caroline Jackson, an epidemiologist in the School of Population Health at the University of Queensland in Australia, said: "When treating women, doctors need to recognise the serious nature of poor mental health and what effects it can have in the long term.
"Current guidelines for stroke prevention tend to overlook the potential role of depression."
The research is the first large-scale study in which scientists examined the association between depression and stroke in younger middle-aged women.
The researchers said that although the increased stroke risk associated with depression was large, the absolute risk of stroke is still fairly low for women of that age.
About 1.5 per cent of all women in the study suffered a stroke.
Researcher added: "We may need more targeted approaches to prevent and treat depression among younger women, because it could have a much stronger impact on stroke for them now rather than later in life."