Depression and Stroke

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Story Updated: May 20, 2013

Important health information for middle-aged women If you're living with depression, you may face an almost doubled risk of stroke.

That startling news comes from a new Australian study of more than 10-thousand women ages 47 to 52.

The women answered questions about their mental and physical health, medication use and lifestyle habits every three years from 1998 to 2010.

About 24 percent of the participants reported being depressed. 177 first-time strokes occurred during the study.

The researchers eliminated risk factors such as smoking, heart disease, diabetes and obesity and then analyzed the remaining data.

The results show depressed women were 1.9 times more likely to have a stroke than those who weren't depressed.

The researchers say it's still unclear why there may be a strong link here, but they are calling for greater awareness of depression as a preventable risk factor for stroke in younger middle-aged women.

I'm Dr. Cindy Haines of HealthDay TV with the latest breakthroughs from the world of medicine.

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Excellus BlueCross BlueShield, a nonprofit independent licensee of the BlueCross BlueShield Association, is part of a family of companies that finances and delivers vital health care services to 1.8 million people across upstate New York. Excellus BlueCross BlueShield provides access to high-quality, affordable health coverage, including valuable health-related resources that our members use every day, such as cost-saving prescription drug discounts and wellness tracking tools in our Step Up program. To learn more, visit www.excellusbcbs.com