Link between stroke and depression

Link between stroke and depression

By William Smith

In a recent interview on Deseret News/Intermountain Healthcare Hotline last Saturday the link between stroke and depression was discussed.

Dr. Kevin Call, a neurologist at Utah Valley Regional Medical Centre and nurse Kelly Anderson fielded dozens of calls and also answered questions on the Deseret News’ Facebook page.  Callers were reporting that they had noticed depression and fatigue following a stroke.

‘They are each a very real entity’ said Dr. Call.  Not everyone who has a stroke experiences the two after-effects.  Post=stroke depression strikes as many as 40 per cent of those who suffered stroke, while post-stroke fatigue may bother a quarter.  And there’s overlap.  Some people deal with both.  The conditions may occur right away, for the depression, peak prevalence is about a year after the stroke.

Both experts told callers that the conditions and other post-stroke conditions are treatable.

Many callers asker Anderson, who is the stroke program co-ordinator at Intemountain’s hospitals in Salt Lake County, whether there are tests that could be run before a stroke ever occurred to see if one was likely.

She and Call agreed that besides blood pressure and cholesterol tests that should be a routine part of health-care maintenance on an appropriate schedule, for those who have a strong history of coronary artery disease, looking at things like blood flow in the carotid artery might be a good idea.

It is a common belief that the likely of stroke can be increased if there is a history of stroke in the family.  This is not the case.  ‘Most strokes have little or nothing to do with heredity and are caused by factors that can be modified with treatment or lifestyle change’ said Anderson.

Some risk factors include high blood pressure, too little exercise, poor diet, high cholesterol and more.  The list of factors that you cannot change in any way is very small: age, gender and ethnicity.  African Americans and Hispanics are examples of those who are at higher risk of stroke because of their ethnicity.  Men are somewhat more likely to have a stroke and the risk goes up with age.

Exercise is a great way to reduce the risks of stroke as well as medication to lower blood pressure and cholesterol.  Lowering your salt intake is another very positive change that can be made.  Food can be made to be tasty with the use of herbs but for those who will not consider minimising their salt intake then sea salt is a much healthier alternative.  


Relevant products

Further reading

You may find the following links on Depression useful:

No votes yet