Risk of stroke among women is increased by depression, according to a major health study of nurses in the US.
More than 80,00 women took part in the Nurses’ Health Study over a period of six years, which found that a history of depression increased the risk of stroke in post-menopausal women by almost a third (29%).
Women who used antidepressants such as Prozac had a 39% higher risk of stroke, the study showed. However scientists said the depression itself was to blame, not the medication.
The women who took part in the research were aged between 54 and 79, with no history of stroke. The study was designed to establish factors that influence the long-term health of nurses.
Study leader Dr Kathryn Rextrode, from Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, US, said: “Depression can prevent individuals from controlling other medical problems such as diabetes and hypertension, from taking medications regularly or pursuing other healthy lifestyle measures such as exercise.”