New study finds link between anxiety and an increased chance of stroke
Researchers recommend diagnosis and treatment for anxiety
People with anxiety had 14 percent higher rate of stroke in study
People who struggle with anxiety may have an increased chance of suffering a stroke. A study published in the American Heart Association Journals shows a prospective link between increased anxiety and incidents of stroke.
According to Reuters, Dr. Maya Lambiase, of the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine stated, “The greater your anxiety level, the higher your risks of having a stroke.”
It is recommended to seek diagnoses and treatment for anxiety in order to improve quality of life and also to potentially reduce the risk of stroke and other cardiovascular diseases.
According to Make The Connection, a site dedicated to helping people with anxiety, some of the symptoms of anxiety include: feeling restless; being angry or irritable; worrying about everyday decisions for several days in a row; having difficulty concentrating; feeling like your mind goes blank; or finding it hard to do your work or normal activities.
Some of the more severe symptoms of anxiety may include: trembling, twitching, or shaking; having difficulty catching your breath; feeling like your heart is pounding; feeling dizzy or lightheaded; feeling extremely tired; or having trouble falling asleep or getting a good night’s rest.
Participants in the First National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey were assessed at baseline and followed for approximately 16 years. Among the 6,019 participants, 419 strokes occurred. The risk of stroke was higher for participants who reported greater symptoms of anxiety.
The risk of stroke occurred at a rate that was 14 percent higher for individuals who claimed increased anxiety than for those who did not. The incidence rate also appeared to increase at a higher rate for individuals reporting more severe symptoms of anxiety.
Researchers also took into consideration other factors that may have contributed to stroke, such as alcohol use, physical activity and smoking. After adjusting for these factors, the link between anxiety and increased risk for stroke remained.
Dr. Maya Lambiase stated, “People with high anxiety levels are more likely to smoke and be physically inactive, possibly explaining part of the anxiety-stroke link. Higher stress hormones, blood pressure or sympathetic output may also be factors. However, future research is needed to determine the precise mechanisms whereby greater levels of anxiety increase a person’s risk for stroke.”