Stroke is the most common cause of chronic adult disability that can happen to anyone anytime. While the prevalence of heart disease, stroke increased by over 50% in the past 25 years, there is still a lack of awareness regarding this condition. Stroke occurs when the flow of blood and oxygen to the brain is ceased due to which the brain cells die and become unresponsive. Research has shown that the risk of stroke after 55 years of age is 1 in 5 for women and 1 in 6 for men.

Stroke is a leading cause of death and functional impairment. While older people are particularly vulnerable to stroke, they have the poorest awareness of stroke warning signs and risk factors.

There are various reasons due to which stroke occurs, and stress is one of those many reasons.

Dr PR Krishnan

Interrelated: Stress and Stroke

There’s lot of speculation about how stress is really related to stroke. Medical research has found out some connections but has a more difficult time proving that one clearly relates to the other. A stressful day is unlikely to increase the chance of a stroke but a stress that’s there for a longer span tends to increase the chances of getting a stroke. Stress can trigger other risk factors such as high blood pressure, diabetes, smoking, obesity, heart diseases that can eventually lead to a stroke. Those who had complications in managing stress are visibly at an increased risk of having a stroke. Stress seems to arise from any situation pertaining to life.

A particular job demand means time pressure, mental hardship and level of responsibilities all are on high stakes. It’s found that jobs with high appeal and low control, were associated with a 22 percent increased risk of stroke compared with jobs that had low appeal and high control. Work stress, long working hours and sedentary lifestyle involving smoking and alcohol consumption puts you at risk of getting a stroke.

Stress has become a major problem leading to an increased rate of stroke and one needs to minimize it.

Action program

Being constantly stressed out puts your body in constant fight-or-flight mode. Prevention always prevails, so does for stress that leads to stroke, one could inculcate healthy habits and mental positiveness such as

  • Meditation
  • Physical exercise
  • Healthy diet
  • Positive attitude
  • Getting enough sleep
  • Taking time out for your hobbies

All of this helps to deal with stress more effectively and in turn prevents stress hormone “cortisol” from increasing in one’s body. By maintaining these habits that builds resilience, a person can alleviate stress from leading the body to a state where one experiences stroke due to high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol.

One could always consult a doctor if he or she feels persistent sadness, anxiousness, or emptiness or if one loses interest in things he used to like. Stress managing tips and habit is of a considerable help for those concerned about lowering their stroke risk, as well as those who have already suffered a stroke.

Conclusion

As it is not possible to eliminate stress completely, we should learn to avoid it when possible and manage it if it is unavoidable. Changes are the small steps at a time that can lead to a lifestyle change. One of the most effective ways to cope with stress on a regular basis is to have a steady flow of steps that can lead you to a less stressful life and a more peaceful mind. 

 

Dr. PR Krishnan is a Consultant Neurologist Fortis Hospital, Bannerghatta Road, Bengaluru