Caring Currents

Depression Increases Risk of Stroke in Elderly

Last updated: Aug 04, 2008

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If you're concerned that your parent might be depressed, take note: New research suggests that depression may increase the risk of stroke in elderly patients .

Researchers found that 85-year-olds with depression had almost three times the risk of having a stroke within three years. "The possible risk reduction of stroke is thus one more reason why individuals with depression should be diagnosed and adequately treated," the authors write in their report, published in the current issue of Stroke .

The National Institute of Mental Health lists these warning signs of depression :

  • Persistent sad, anxious, or "empty" feelings
  • Feelings of hopelessness or pessimism
  • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness
  • Irritability, restlessness
  • Loss of interest in activities or hobbies that once brought pleasure
  • Fatigue and decreased energy
  • Difficulty concentrating, remembering details, and making decisions
  • Insomnia, early-morning wakefulness, or excessive sleeping
  • Overeating or loss of appetite
  • Thoughts of suicide or suicide attempts
  • Persistent aches and pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems that do not improve with treatment

Not all depressed people have all of these symptoms, but if your parent or loved one has several of these symptoms for more than two weeks, it's time to call the doctor.

More depression resources :

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