Men and women with severe symptoms of anxiety have an increased risk of stroke compared to their calmer peers, according to researchers from the University of Pittsburgh , USA.
Scientists studied the relationship between anxiety and stroke by analyzing 16-year follow-up data of 6,019 men and women enrolled in the United States’ First National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) between 1971 and 1975. All subjects were asked at the start of the study about the presence of anxiety states. The results were then compared with data on strokes, related hospitalizations, and deaths.
In total, there were 149 stroke cases during the study. However, the risk of stroke was higher among those subjects who reported more anxiety symptoms at the start of the study, including excessive anxiety, stress, and nervousness.
Scientists calculated that, on average, increased levels of anxiety were associated with a 14 percent increased risk of stroke. At the same time, the more a person experienced symptoms of anxiety, the higher the risk became.
Experts believe that assessing and treating anxiety states has the potential not only to improve quality of life, but also to reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases such as stroke.