-- Robert Preidt
MONDAY, March 14 (HealthDay News) -- Stroke survivors, even if
they escape severe mental impairment, are less likely to be
independent if they are depressed, older, or have other medical
problems, say researchers.
They analyzed data from 367 stroke survivors, average age 62,
who had no severe language or thinking skill impairments. Of those
patients, 174 were diagnosed with depression one month after their
The patients' levels of independence were rated using a 0 to 5
scale, with 5 being the most severely disabled and dependent. Three
months after their stroke, 20 percent of the patients scored 3 or
higher, meaning they were considered dependent.
Stroke survivors who were severely depressed, older and had
other health problems were more likely to be dependent than those
who were younger, free of other health problems or not
The study appears in the March 15 print issue of the journal
"Post-stroke depression is a common problem. About 795,000 people in the United States have a stroke each year and one-third of survivors develop depression as a result," study author Arlene Schmid, of the Richard L. Roudebush Veterans Affairs Medical Center and Indiana University in Indianapolis, said in a journal news release.
The researchers did not examine whether improvement in
depression helped stroke survivors recover their independence after
"Even if the treatment and improvement of post-stroke depression does not directly influence recovery, it is extremely important for depression to be identified and treated since it is associated with other health and social problems," Schmid said.
The U.S. National Stroke Association has more about
life after stroke.
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