Depressed women face bigger stroke risk

I've never understood it myself, but many people still feel shame and embarrassment when it comes to depression. They won't talk about feeling depressed, and they certainly won't seek help.

Well, I'm here to tell you that you've got nothing to be embarrassed about -- and there's certainly no shame in seeking help.

The real shame is in what could happen to you if you just let it go, because depression can lead to other serious health risks, especially in women. And ladies, if you're feeling depressed right now, you could face double the risk of a stroke, according to one new study out of Australia.

We've seen this link made before. But in other studies, it's generally been found in older women. One study a couple years back found that depression increases the risk of stroke in senior women by nearly a third.

In the new study, however, the higher stroke risk was found even in younger women who were feeling depressed -- including women in their 40s and 50s.

Now, to be clear about this, not all cases of stroke linked depression are caused by the condition. In some cases, it could be caused by treatment -- because depression meds, especially common SSRIs, are also known to raise the risk of stroke in women.

But whether it's the drugs or the condition, it's pretty clear to me that there are two actions everyone -- men and women alike -- needs to take when facing serious mood problems.

First, never let depression go untreated. Along with increasing your risk of stroke, unchecked depression can also lead to serious heart problems.  People who are feeling depressed are also more likely to engage in unhealthy behavior, including excessive drinking, smoking, and poor diet.

And second, avoid medications if you can (especially those SSRI drugs I just mentioned) and turn to natural therapies instead. While drugs do little to correct the underlying causes of depression, supplements such as omega-3 fatty acids and B vitamins can actually give the brain exactly what it's been lacking -- easing the depression and improving your overall health at the same time.

For more tips on easing depression naturally read my free special report here.

Some people may need additional treatment, but even in those cases drugs may not be necessary. What you really need is a skilled doctor who can diagnose other potential causes of depression, such as nutritional deficiencies and hormonal imbalances.

I recommend a holistic physician who specializes in natural hormone therapies. And if you're in the Southern California area, I can help. Contact my clinic at 855-DOC-MARK for more information or to make an appointment.