Not only are they in an age bracket that has been revealed to have a startling rise in suicides over the years, but a new study confirms that middle-aged women who are depressed face an increased risk of stroke, and especially those who take anti-depressants to combat their depression.

(Photo:Flickr/Horia Varlan)

The Nurse’s Health Study followed 80,574 women without previous history of stroke between the ages of 54 and 79 from 2000 to 2006. Researchers found that depression increased stroke risk by 29 percent, and those who used antidepressants — especially selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors such as Prozak and Zoloft  — had a 39 percent higher risk.

But in an interview with ScienceDaily, Kathryn Rexrode, M.D., the study’s senior author, said researchers are not encouraging women to stop taking anti-depressants.

“I don’t think the medications themselves are the primary cause of the risk. This study does not suggest that people should stop their medications to reduce the risk of stroke.”