While higher levels of anxiety are associated with increased risk for coronary heart disease, the role of anxiety in stroke risk has been unclear. Maya J. Lambiase, from the University of Pittsburgh (Pennsylvania, USA), and colleagues analyzed data collected from 6,019 adult participants in the first National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES I), who were followed for 16.29 years, during which time they underwent interviews, took blood tests and had medical and physiological exams. The team observed that those participants with the most anxiety symptoms were at a 33% increase in stroke risk, as compared to those with the fewest symptoms (and controlling for cardiovascular risk factors). Further, after controlling for depression, high anxiety was still associated with a 13% to 20% increase in stroke risk. Observing that: “higher anxiety symptom levels were associated prospectively with increased risk for incident stroke independent of other risk factors, including depression,” the study authors submit that: “Anxiety is a modifiable experience that is highly prevalent among the general population. Its assessment and treatment may contribute to developing more effective preventive and intervention strategies for improving overall cardiovascular health.”
Lambiase MJ, Kubzansky LD, Thurston RC. “Prospective Study of Anxiety and Incident Stroke.” Stroke. 2013 Dec 19.
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