Over a 22 year period, researchers at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, in Pittsburgh, Penn. studied a nationally representative group of 6,019 people 25-74 years old in the first National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES I).
Participants underwent an interview and took blood tests, medical examinations and completed psychological questionnaires to gauge anxiety and depression levels.
Researchers tracked strokes through hospital or nursing home reports and death certificates. After accounting for other factors, they found that even modest increases in anxiety were associated with greater stroke risk.
People in the highest third of anxiety symptoms had a 33 percent higher stroke risk than those with the lowest levels.
The study is published in Journal Report.