Brain Stroke: According to a study, increasing symptoms of depression can be a sign that a stroke is about to come. In such a situation, it is necessary to immediately consult a doctor of neurology.
Depression is a common problem for people who have had a stroke (paralysis or brain attack), but a new study has revealed that some people may have symptoms of depression years before the stroke. The study’s author, Maria Blochl, who did her PhD from the University of Münster in Germany, said, “The problem of depression in people who have had a stroke is so common that it is known as post-stroke depression . But in our study, we found that symptoms of depression not only increase after a stroke, but people have developed some symptoms of depression before the stroke.”
For the study, the researchers initially selected 10,797 people with an average age of 65 who had not had a stroke. These people were monitored for 12 years. During this, 425 people had strokes. They were then matched with 4,249 people who had not had a stroke but were similar in age, gender and other health conditions. People in the study were surveyed every two years, asking whether they experienced symptoms of depression, including feeling lonely, feeling sad, and not getting enough sleep. The more symptoms the participants showed, the higher their score.
Can these people be considered victims of depression?
The researchers found that those who had a stroke six years before the time of the stroke and those who had not had nearly the same score, about 1.6 points (points). But about two years before the stroke, people with a stroke saw an average increase of 0.33 points in their scores.
These people had an additional 0.23 point increase in depressive symptoms after a stroke, reaching an overall total of about 2.1 points, and they remained at that high level for 10 years after the stroke. In contrast, scores for those who did not have a stroke remained roughly the same throughout the study.
When evaluating whether people can be considered clinically depressed? Looking at a score of three points or more on the scale for this, the researchers found that a slightly different pattern of results emerged.
Of those who met the criteria for probable depression in the pre-stroke assessment, 29 percent had a brain attack, while 24 percent did not have a stroke.
Exacerbation of symptoms of depression is a sign of stroke
Blochl said, “This suggests that the symptoms of depression before a stroke are mostly subtle and not always clinically detectable. But a slight increase in depressive symptoms, especially those related to mood and fatigue, can be a sign that a stroke is on the way.”
“Depression is not only a post-stroke issue but also a pre-stroke event,” Blochle said.
Symptoms of depression seen before stroke
“Whether these pre-stroke changes can be used to predict who will have a stroke is not clear. Research needs to be done to find out exactly why the symptoms of depression appear before a stroke. In addition, the study also points to why doctors need to monitor symptoms of depression for a long time in people who have had a stroke.
A shortcoming of this study was that researchers did not have enough data on the treatment of depression. It is therefore possible that some people may be taking anti-depressant medication that is improving their depression symptoms after a stroke.