Can Stress Cause Stroke?

Can Stress Cause a Stroke? 

Stress is a normal part of life. It affects your relationships and your work performance. It stops you from having a relaxing weekend. It can have a negative impact on your health, resulting in headache, sleep problems and more. But can a lot of stress cause a stroke?

Understanding What Causes Stroke

The fifth leading cause of death in America, stroke occurs when you can’t get enough blood to your brain. This happens for two reasons. Either a blood vessel bursts in the brain or just outside, or fat and cholesterol blocks an artery leading to the brain. Either way, the result can be lifelong disability or death.  Many things increase your chance of stroke. What are the leading risk factors for having a stroke?

Factors you can’t control include: 

  • age (stroke is more common after age 65) 
  • family history of stroke
  • race (African Americans are at higher risk) 
  • sex (women are at higher risk) 

Stroke risk factors you can control include: 

  • diabetes 
  • drinking alcohol excessively 
  • high blood pressure
  • high cholesterol
  • lack of physical exercise 
  • obesity poor sleeping habits 
  • smoking
  • unhealthy diet 
  • unmanaged stress 

How Stress Causes Stroke

Stress is a major cause of high blood pressure. Excessive stress causes your heart to beat harder and your blood pressure to rise. Leave stress unmanaged long enough and your blood pressure gets stuck on high. Eventually, this can lead to stroke. 

However, stress can cause stroke in sneakier ways. Research has found that stress also increases your likelihood to make poor lifestyle choices. That’s why you grab a box of cookies when you’re stressed. It’s why you skip the gym when you have too much to do at work. And when are you most likely to drink too much or smoke? When you’re stressed.

Tips for Reducing Stress

Want to protect yourself from stroke and other potential dangers of stress? You’ll need to manage your stress like a pro. Here are a few tips to get started. 

Get in the gym. For the best results, exercise at least 30 minutes most days of the week. 

Hit the hay. Aim for seven to nine consecutive hours of sleep each night.

Just breathe. For instant stress management, take a deep breath through your nose. Fill your entire chest and belly, then slowly release the air through your mouth.

Laugh. Watch a funny movie, call your funniest friend or do whatever else gets you laughing. 

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