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Report links depression to stroke risk

A CNN report says that depression is a risk factor for stroke, although a relatively minor one.

The report cites research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, which suggests that as many as 4 percent of the estimated 795,000 strokes that occur in the United States each year can be attributed to depression.

Lead researcher An Pan, Ph.D., said the depression might add to stroke risk because people with the condition are more likely to have contributing lifestyle factors such as heavy smoking and drinking habits, or an unhealthy diet.

But depression might also contribute by increasing the production of stress hormones in the body, or triggering dangerous inflammation in the blood vessels.

Pan said depression in itself probably isn’t much of risk factor where stroke is concerned. But it can become more of a worry when combined with other risk factors such as hypertension and obesity.

One of the most common forms of stroke occurs when a blood clot that forms elsewhere in the body travels to the brain. The Mayo Clinic identifies a number of risk factors for blood clots, including a history of stroke, prolonged sitting or bed rest, surgery, and pregnancy.

According to the Mayo Clinic, use of oral contraceptives is also a risk factor for developing blood clots.

While most birth control pills increase the risk of blood clots, some carry a demonstrably higher risk. Several studies show that Beyaz, Yaz, Yasmin, Ocella and other contraceptives that contain the synthetic hormone drospirenone increase the risk of potentially fatal blood clots more than other types of birth control pills on the market.

See the research here: http://jama.ama-assn.org/content/306/11/1241.full.pdf+html?sid=160e06a1-5f6d-4fa5-880c-9982fa792f79