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Anxiety is associated with higher stroke risk

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Concerns that anxiety may be associated with a higher risk of stroke are justified. MedPage Today reported on Dec. 20, 2013, that anxiety is linked to higher stroke risk. In a new study it was observed that there was an increase stroke risk with anxiety in a dose-dependent manner which was independent of depression and
cardiovascular risk factors.

It has been shown that high levels of anxiety are associated with increased risk for coronary heart disease. However, there have been few studies to investigate whether anxiety is associated with stroke risk, according to the journal Stroke. This study had a goal of examining the association between anxiety symptoms and incident stroke. The reporting of more anxiety symptoms at baseline was found to be associated with an increased risk of stroke. It was concluded that higher anxiety symptom levels were associated prospectively with increased risk for stroke which was independent of other risk factors, including depression.

The researchers discovered that people with the most anxiety symptoms had a 33 percent increase in risk for stroke in comparison with those with the fewest symptoms. This has been one of a few studies to explicitly consider the relationship of anxiety in relation to incident stroke. The researchers wrote that poor health behaviors may be one pathway which links anxiety with stroke risk.

Smoking and lack of physical activity had the most sizable attenuating effect on the relationship between anxiety and incident stroke. However, since it was observed that these behaviors did not account fully for the association between anxiety and incident stroke, direct biological effects of anxiety should also be considered. In the meantime, it appears to be a wise idea to get any anxiety you may have under control.



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