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The stroke risk linked to depression
Depression is considered a serious mood disorder. But there’s a big difference between having a blue mood occasionally and being depressed.
Depression is a persistent feeling of sadness that isn’t so easy to push through. It interferes with your daily life and even takes the joy from places where you once found it.
But the truth is, depression is an illness that not only steals your happiness — it can also make you far more likely to suffer from other serious ailments as well.
In fact, research has already linked depression to everything from cancer to diabetes and hypertension thanks to the chemical pathway that connects inflammation to these disease processes.
Now, researchers at the University of Galway in Ireland have found yet another dire reason for patients and doctors alike to work hard at treating depression: a higher risk for stroke…
Increased stroke risk, decreased chance of recovery
Their research involved almost 27,000 participants from the INTERSTROKE study that spanned 32 countries. Approximately half of the participants had suffered a stroke, while the other half were stroke-free.
Participants completed questionnaires at the beginning of the study that delved into risk factors, like high blood pressure and diabetes. And the researchers took a deep look at any symptoms of depression each person had experienced within the year before the study.
So how did all that data boil down?
After adjusting for all other factors that can affect stroke risk, the data showed that people with symptoms of depression before stroke had a 46 percent higher chance of stroke than someone who had not suffered from depression.
And the more symptoms a person had, the higher that stroke risk.
Unfortunately, that was only the tip of the iceberg…
The research also showed that suffering from depression can also make it less likely you’ll recover if you do have a stroke. Those with depression were more likely to have worse outcomes one month after the stroke than participants without depression.
“In this study, we gained deeper insights into how depressive symptoms can contribute to stroke,” said study author Robert P. Murphy, MBBS. “Our results show that symptoms of depression can have an impact on mental health, but also increase the risk of stroke. Physicians should be looking for these symptoms of depression and can use this information to help guide health initiatives focused on stroke prevention.”
A two-pronged approach to reduce risk
This means that if you want to avoid having a stroke, you not only have to focus on the health of your arteries and blood flow, but also your mood.
To keep your blood vessels at their best and your blood flowing smoothly, try passive stretching. This artery “workout” has been found to increase blood flow and dilation of vessels and decrease arterial stiffness in as little as 12 weeks.
To help fight depression, you may need the help of a psychiatrist. But there are two good reasons to consider supplementing a combination of omega-3 fatty acids and phosphatidylserine (PS for short)…
A 2015 study found that taking 100 mg of PS, plus an omega-3 supplement containing 119 mg of DHA and 70 mg of EPA three times a day for 12 weeks improved mood and lowered levels of the “stress hormone” cortisol in participants with late-life depression.
And there’s a bonus to supplementing omega-3s in regard to stroke risk…
Chronic inflammation in the blood vessels is normally controlled by “stop signals” called resolvins. Resolvins are formed from omega-3 fatty acids bind to a receptor called GPR32, activating the receptor’s ability to counteract inflammation in blood vessels, essentially switching off inflammation and stimulating tissue repair and healing.
This process is known as resolution of inflammation, and researchers believe this is how omega-3s, like those found in fatty fish, fish oil or krill oil, protect the brain from stroke.
Editor’s note: There are numerous safe and natural ways to decrease your risk of blood clots including the 25-cent vitamin, the nutrient that acts as a natural blood thinner and the powerful herb that helps clear plaque. To discover these and more, click here for Hushed Up Natural Heart Cures and Common Misconceptions of Popular Heart Treatments!
The Effects of Phosphatidylserine and Omega-3 Fatty Acid-Containing Supplement on Late Life Depression – NIH
People with symptoms of depression may have an increased risk of stroke – EurekAlert!