Depression, Anxiety May Increase Risk Of Dying From Stroke: Study

How Mental Health Could Affect Your Stroke Death Risk

Depression, anxiety and problems sleeping are linked with an increased risk of dying from stroke, a new study suggests.

Researchers from University College London found that people who had these conditions of psychological distress were more likely to die from a stroke or ischemic heart disease.

The study, published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, included 68,652 people who had an average age of 54.9. Nearly all the study participants were white, and slightly fewer than half were male. None of them had any sort of cardiovascular disease at the beginning of the study.

Researchers measured the psychological distress of the study participants with the General Health Questionnaire; they found that 14.7 percent of them had some sort of psychological distress.

After an 8.1-year period, 2,367 people died of cardiovascular disease -- 1,010 died particularly from ischemic heart disease, 562 died from stroke, and 795 died from another heart-related reason.

Last year, a similar study in the journal Stroke: Journal of the American Heart Association showed a link between depression and stroke. That study, which included more than 80,000 women, showed that having had depression is linked with a 29 percent higher risk of having a stroke, BBC News reported.

"Regardless of the mechanism, recognizing that depressed individuals may be at a higher risk of stroke may help the physician focus on not only treating the depression, but treating stroke risk factors such as hypertension, diabetes and elevated cholesterol, as well as addressing lifestyle behaviors such as smoking and exercise," study researcher Dr. An Pan, of the Harvard School of Public Health, told BBC News.

And just this month, a study presented at the SLEEP 2012 conference showed that middle- to older-aged people who regularly get fewer than six hours of sleep a night have an increased stroke risk, even if they don't have a history of stroke, aren't overweight and don't have an increased risk for obstructive sleep apnea.

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