LOS ANGELES, Jan. 22 (UPI) -- Patients depressed after a stroke may have triple the risk of dying early then those without stroke or depression, U.S. researchers say.
Dr. Amytis Towfighi of the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California and Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center in Los Angeles said the study included 10,550 people ages 25-74 tracked for 21 years.
Of those, 73 had a stroke but did not develop depression, 48 had stroke and depression, 8,138 did not have a stroke or depression and 2,291 did not have a stroke but had depression, said Towfighi, the study author.
"Up to one in three people who have a stroke develop depression," Towfighi said in a statement. "This is something family members can help watch for that could potentially save their loved one."
Towfighi noted similar associations have been found regarding depression and heart attack, but less is known about the association between stroke, depression and death.
"Our research highlights the importance of screening for and treating depression in people who have experienced a stroke," Towfighi said. "Given how common depression is after stroke, and the potential consequences of having depression, looking for signs and symptoms and addressing them may be key."
The findings are scheduled to be presented at the American Academy of Neurology's 65th annual meeting in San Diego in March.