Can Anxiety Cause a Stroke? 

Anxiety is associated with many mental and physical conditions, and recent studies would suggest that anxiety can in fact cause a stroke as well. This study was conducted by the American Heart Association, who concluded that people suffering from severe anxiety are a higher risk of inducing a stroke.  

More information on their findings are summarized below:  

What is a Stroke? 

Strokes occur because of occlusions or damage in the blood. There are many risk factors associated with a stroke. Some of which include, but are not limited to, the following conditions:  

  • Hypertension (High Blood Pressure)  
  • High Cholesterol 
  • Diabetes 
  • Smoking 
  • Atrial Fibrillation 

Other risk factors to consider include a person’s gender (men are at higher risk), age (people over the age of 55 are at higher risk), race (African Americans are at higher risk), and those with a diet that is high in sodium and fat.  

The Relationship Between Anxiety and Stroke 

As mentioned in the beginning, research had recently been conducted in order to analyze the effect of anxiety (as an independent risk factor) on incurring a stroke. In this study, it was discovered that patients who suffered the most anxiety were at least 33% more likely to incur a stroke than those who experienced the least anxiety. 

Researchers surmised that the reason for this is because of the effects of anxiety on the risk factors that are already known to be associated with a stroke-like smoking, hypertension, and irregular heart rhythms 

That being said, the relationship between the two is not necessarily believed to be as important when compared to the known risk factors we mentioned. Which means that whilst there’s plenty of reason to believe that treating high blood pressure, diabetes, and smoking can help reduce the likelihood of a person incurring a stroke, it doesn’t mean that treating anxiety will result in the same.  

Final Thoughts: Can Anxiety Cause a Stroke? 

Ultimately, we can conclude that people with severe anxiety are at a greater risk of a stroke, but that treating anxiety will not necessarily reduce the chances of a stroke. That leaves the relationship between the two open to more investigation. However, we do know something that is for certain — those looking to prevent a stroke will have more success by treating other known risk factors (diabetes, high blood pressure, smoking, high cholesterol, etc.)  

Reference:  

  1. “Stroke Risk Factors.” Www.stroke.org, www.stroke.org/en/about-stroke/stroke-risk-factors.