Stress drastically increases likelihood of strokes, as measured through various stress-related behaviors and manifestations in a new study.
PROBLEM: OK: What do bacon cheeseburgers and and chronic stress and romantic rejection have in common? They're all bad for your heart! But can being high-strung also increase your risk of having a stroke?
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METHODOLOGY: The stress levels of 150 stroke patients admitted to a hospital in Madrid, along with 300 of their healthy neighbors, were evaluated on several dimensions. Researchers quantified stress levels in terms of stressful life experiences the subjects had undergone in the past year, psychological symptoms like distress, anxiety, and depression, general mental and physical health, and behavior typical of type-A personalities, such as hostility, aggression, and impatience. The subjects also reported on various lifestyle factors such as caffeine and alcohol consumption, smoking, and whether they were employed or in a relationship. The researchers controlled for biological risk factors and, by using subjects from the same census district, hoped to limit confounding social and environmental factors.
Aside from general health, signs of depression, and employment status, one's likelihood of having a stroke increased significantly in the presence of
multiple independent factors.
The risk of having a stroke more than doubled if the subject:
- Exhibited behaviors typical of a type A personality
- Had a history of smoking
- Drank two or more energy drinks per day