Does Stress Increase Stroke Risk?

There is a connection between stress and stroke risk. Conventional wisdom said that stress leads to stroke, but it is more difficult to prove that one clearly causes the other. A growing body of research seems to show a link.

Studies Show

One study from the University of Michigan found men who were more physiologically reactive to stress were more likely to suffer a stroke two thirds of the time. Jobs that involve high demands and lower levels of personal control were at greater stroke risk, even after controlling for age, educational attainment, occupation, alcohol consumption, and physical activity. Those who had difficulty managing stress appeared to be at an increased risk of stroke. This is usually seen in hypertensive males who chronically fail to find successful strategies in stressful situations who fall vulnerable to the risks.

Stroke Risk Increases

Stress is linked with risk factors that range from stroke to high blood pressure to smoking and obesity. Stress is associated with poorer outcomes for those who have already had a stroke and their families. While more research needs to be done, there is enough evidence of a stress-stroke relationship that management of stress is needed.

Stress Management Tips

Reversing stress is simple and effective. It can help prevent negative effects of chronic stress and support an overall stress management plan:

  • 5 minute stress relievers including breathing exercises and meditation
  • Mindfulness
  • Yoga
  • Breathwork that helps in the moment like breathing from the diaphragm, not the chest
  • Healthy lifestyle changes to diet
  • Exercise
  • Sleeping at least 7-8 hours a night

Social support is a big factor in stress relief. When you feel your social circle is filled with people who are helping you through tough situations, you are more likely to survive a stroke or come back from it stronger if you have a supportive circle around you. Learning these tips takes time. Don’t be afraid to give them a try and see how they help. If they are a struggle, seek professional support for your symptoms and ask for additional help when needed.

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