A recent study shows that increased anxiety may be linked to a higher risk of stroke.
Study findings revealed that people with the highest levels of anxiety had a 33 percent greater chance of witnessing a future stroke than those with lower levels.
At this time, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) notes that close to 800,000 people in the U.S. have strokes every year. Nearly 180,000 of those individuals will most likely die as a result, unfortunately. That means that every 4 minutes, an American dies from a stroke.
Researchers from the University of Pittsburg School of Medicine examined 22 years of records from more than 6,000 participants aged 25 to 74 in a federal database. All study participants agreed to in-person interviews, medical exams and questionnaires and blood draws. They also agreed to be followed for several decades during the study period.
“Everyone has some anxiety now and then, but when it’s elevated and chronic, it may have an effect on your vasculature years down the road,” said Maya Lambiase, the study author and a behavioral medicine researcher in the press release.
After looking at anxiety symptoms and stroke risk, researchers found that for each increased standard deviation increase in anxiety, there was a 17 percent increase in stroke risk. Additionally, they found that with higher anxiety levels, individuals were more likely to smoke and less likely to exercise-thus further increasing their stroke risk.
“Scientists have known that anxiety contributes to heart disease, but the link with stroke hasn’t been as clear,” said Dr. Shazam Hussain, head of the Cleveland Clinic’s Stroke Center, according to Today. “We’re always looking for things besides the standard risk factors.”
More information regarding the study can be found via the journal Stroke.
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