About My Health Careers Internship MedBlogs Contact us
Risk of Stroke Higher Among Patients With Psychiatric Illness

Risk of Stroke Higher Among Patients With Psychiatric Illness

Font : A-A+

  • 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 following admission.
  • 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 association.

Patients 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.


Risk of Stroke Higher Among Patients With Psychiatric Illness

People who sought hospital care at a hospital for serious mental health conditions tripled risk of stroke 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.

"Based on 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.

"But the 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.

Previous 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.

Among them, 3,337 patients were hospitalized or treated in the emergency room for depression, anxiety, PTSD or another psychiatric disorder.

Researchers 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

Possible Explanations

The possible 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 stroke risk.
  • People with psychological distress are often forgetful about their medications prescribed to reduce the risk of stroke.
"Healthcare 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 stroke risk."

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.

The findings were presented at the American Stroke Association's International Stroke Conference 2017.

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.
References :
  1. What is Stroke? - (http://www.stroke.org/understand-stroke/what-stroke)
  2. High stress, hostility, depression linked with increased stroke risk - (http://newsroom.heart.org/news/high-stress-hostility-depression-linked-with-increased-stroke-risk)

Source: Medindia

News A-Z
News Category
What's New on Medindia
January is the Thyroid Awareness Month in 2022
Menstrual Disorders
Coffee May Help You Fight Endometrial Cancer
View all

Medindia Newsletters Subscribe to our Free Newsletters!
Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.

More News on:
Bell´s Palsy Diet Lifestyle and Heart Disease Mitral Valve Stenosis And Mitral Valve Replacement Congenital Heart Disease Stress and the Gender Divide Stroke Facts Stroke Hyperventilation Aphasia How to Deal with a Stroke 

Recommended Reading
Stroke Risk Calculator
Stroke Risk Calculator checks if you have hypertension, diabetes and heart failure and predicts the ...
Stroke can cause permanent disability and it is important to recognize its early warning signs to .....
Stroke - First Aid and Emergency Treatment Guide
A quick and simple First Aid guide on how to administer treatment for Stroke....
Aphasia is a condition where the patient has a language disorder. The patient has problems with comp...
Congenital Heart Disease
Heart diseases that are present at birth are called “ Congenital heart diseases”....
How to Deal with a Stroke
Stroke is a brain attack, which occurs when the blood supply to the brain is interrupted. It affects...
Hyperventilation occurs when a person breathes in excess to the body’s requirement....
Mitral Valve Stenosis And Mitral Valve Replacement
Mitral valve replacement is a surgical heart procedure to correct either the narrowing (stenosis) or...
Stress and the Gender Divide
Stress has become entwined in the current lifestyle of a young working couple and has resulted in th...

Disclaimer - All information and content on this site are for information and educational purposes only. The information should not be used for either diagnosis or treatment or both for any health related problem or disease. Always seek the advice of a qualified physician for medical diagnosis and treatment. Full Disclaimer

© All Rights Reserved 1997 - 2022

This site uses cookies to deliver our services. By using our site, you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Cookie Policy, Privacy Policy, and our Terms of Use
open close
I have read and I do accept terms of use - Telemedicine

Advantage Medindia: FREE subscription for 'Personalised Health & Wellness website with consultation' (Value Rs.300/-)