Elevated depressive symptoms were associated with an increased risk for incident ischemic stroke, according to findings that will be presented at the upcoming American Academy of Neurology annual meeting.
“Depression is common and often goes untreated, so these results could hold great promise as we learn more about how depression may affect people’s risk for stroke and other cardiovascular problems and ultimately develop ways to prevent these problems,” Marialaura Simonetto, MD, of the department of neurology at the Miller School of Medicine, University of Miami, said in a press release. “If people with depression are at elevated risk of stroke, early detection and treatment will be even more important.”
To determine if depressive symptoms were associated with elevated incident ischemic stroke risk, researchers conducted a prospective cohort study of 1,104 adults (mean age, 70 years; 61% women; 69% Hispanic) who were clinically free of stroke at baseline.
Researchers assessed depressive symptoms using the Center of Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale, with a score of 16 or greater indicating elevated depressive symptoms — at baseline, 18% of participants had elevated symptoms. Cox proportional hazards models were then used to estimate hazard ratios of incident ischemic stroke.
Participants were followed for a median of 11 years. During this time, 101 had incident strokes (87 were ischemic).
Researchers estimated that the cumulative incidence of any type of stroke was 14% (95% CI, 10-20) and the cumulative incidence of ischemic stroke was 13% (95% CI, 9-18).
After adjusting for age, sex, race/ethnicity, years of education, smoking status, physical activity, alcohol consumption, diabetes and hypertension, researchers found that participants with elevated depressive symptoms had an increased risk for stroke (HR = 1.75; 95% CI, 1.06-2.88) and that every 5-point increase in the depression scale score was associated with a 12% greater risk for ischemic stroke (HR = 1.12; 95% CI, 1.01-1.25).
“Better understanding of how depressive symptoms may affect cardiovascular risk factors and increase stroke risk are warranted to design appropriate primary prevention strategies,” the researchers wrote in a meeting abstract. – by Melissa J. Webb
Reference: Simonetto M, et al. “The association between elevated depressive symptoms and risk of incident ischemic stroke: the Northern Manhattan Study.” Presented at: American Academy of Neurology Annual Meeting; May 4-10; Philadelphia.
Disclosures: Healio Primary Care Today was unable to determine the authors’ relevant financial disclosures prior to publication.