HSPH Logo Optimism has been known to have a positive influence and a previous study outlined its role in preventing stroke too. More recently, a study conducted by experts from the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) and Brigham and Women’s Hospital, women who are depressed may face 29% more chances of stroke than women who do not suffer from depression.

As part of the analysis, the scientists gauged symptoms and depression diagnoses among 80,574 women in the age-group 54 to 79 in the Nurses’ Health Study. They were also checked for the use of anti-depressants from 2000 to 2006.

The outcomes showed that women who consumed anti-depressant drugs specifically serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSIs) seemed to have 39% growing risk for stroke. Some of the SSIs are Prozac, Zoloft, and Celexa.

“This study does not recommend that people with depression withdraw their current medication treatment. However, physicians need to monitor the potential metabolic changes with antidepressant medication,” remarked Lead researcher An Pan, research fellow in HSPH’s Department of Nutrition.

Depression is touted to result in an increased risk for heart disease, but significant information on stroke is limited. Some aspects of depression like inflammation, high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, smoking and physical inactivity are seemingly related to stroke.

Understanding that depressed individuals may be more prone to stroke ought to inform doctors and patients to restrict stroke risk variables like hypertension, diabetes and high cholesterol levels. Patients should also be encouraged to have a healthy lifestyle, give up habits such as smoking and be physically outgoing.

The study is published in the journal Stroke.