- The odds of stroke were seen to be higher in
patients who were treated in emergency room for psychiatric illness.
- The risk of stroke was highest in the first 15 days
- This risk declined over time but lasted for at
least a year.
- Increase in blood pressure triggered by
psychological distress could be one of the possible explanations for this
hospitalized or treated in the emergency room for depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder
(PTSD) or other psychiatric disorders may have an increased risk for stroke.
The chances are
particularly high in the 15 days following their psychiatric diagnosis.
‘Healthcare professionals should carefully monitor patients for symptoms of psychiatric illness, especially those who may be at increased risk of stroke’
sought hospital care at a hospital for serious mental health conditions tripled
following their visit.
Though the risk
started to decrease after 30 days, it remained twice as high for at least a
year after the ER visit or hospital stay, the researchers said.
my clinical experience in the hospital, I have noticed that many patients
believe that stress for whatever reason - work, family, work-life balance -
contributed to their stroke," said Jonah P. Zuflacht, B.A., lead researcher
and a fourth-year medical student at Columbia University's College of
Physicians and Surgeons in New York.
data to support a connection between stress and stroke is limited and often
relies on a patient's subjective recall of distress, which can bias
results." Zuflacht added.
research by American Heart Association had stated that higher levels of stress,
hostility and depressive symptoms are associated with significantly increased
risk of stroke, especially in middle-aged and older adults.
For the study,
researchers analyzed the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project database for
California and found 52,068 stroke patients between 2007-2009.
3,337 patients were hospitalized or treated in the emergency room for
depression, anxiety, PTSD or another psychiatric disorder.
found that psychiatric distress leading to a hospital visit increased the odds
of stroke within five time periods. The odds of a stroke were:
- 3.48 times higher within 15 days
- 3.11 times higher within 30 days
- 2.41 times higher within 90 days
- 2.23 times higher within 180 days
- 2.61 times higher within 360 days
explanations for stroke could be due to the following:
- Body's fight-or-flight response gets
triggered by psychological distress, causing increased
blood pressure, which is the biggest risk factor for stroke.
- Psychological distress may also trigger changes in cells that can cause
inflammation and oxidative stress, both of which are thought to increase
- People with psychological distress
are often forgetful about their medications
prescribed to reduce the risk of
professionals should listen to their patients for symptoms of psychiatric
illness, especially in those who may be at increased risk of stroke,"
Zuflacht said. "A patient with high blood pressure, high cholesterol and
six months of depressive symptoms should raise concerns regarding possible
The research was unable to isolate the psychiatric conditions that had a stronger association with stroke. Also, data on psychiatric
conditions from outpatient settings were not included in the study.
were presented at the American Stroke Association's International Stroke
Facts on Stroke
- Stroke occurs when blood flow to
an area of brain is cut off. This causes the brain cells to be deprived of
oxygen and they begin to die.
- Depending on the part of the brain affected, certain functions like memory and muscle
control are lost.
- According to the American Heart
Association's Heart Disease and Stroke Statistical Update, nearly 800,000
people experience a new or recurrent stroke, annually.
- Every 40 seconds, someone is said
to suffer from stroke. Every 4 minutes someone dies from stroke
causing 129,000 deaths annually.
- Stroke is the fifth leading cause
of death in the U.S.
- Stroke is the leading cause of
disability in the U.S.
- What is Stroke? - (http://www.stroke.org/understand-stroke/what-stroke)
- High stress, hostility, depression linked with
increased stroke risk - (http://newsroom.heart.org/news/high-stress-hostility-depression-linked-with-increased-stroke-risk)