Can stress cause a stroke? Mild stress can be an everyday occurrence and we all experience it at some point in our lives. Chronic or severe stress, on the other hand, can have a negative impact on your health. There is little evidence that a single episode of emotional stress can directly cause a stroke. However, research suggests that chronic stress may increase the risk of stroke.
A stroke can be caused by a variety of factors. While chronic stress may raise your risk, not everybody who is stressed will have a stroke. Some strokes are avoidable. Working with your doctor to understand how stress might trigger a stroke and any appropriate care can help reduce your risk of illness.
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How Can Stress Cause A Stroke?
The answer to the question, how can stress cause a stroke lies in your body's alarm system. Your body's fight-or-flight reaction can be set off by stress, resulting in momentary side effects that can assist you in dealing with a perceived threat. Increased heart rate, blood pressure, breathing rate, and muscle tension are a few examples of these consequences.
The fight-or-flight reaction is a typical physiological reaction. Chronic stress, however, can have long-lasting repercussions that can cause issues like a stroke.
When mismanaged, chronic stress directly affects the cardiovascular system, which in turn harms the arteries. A stroke is a medical emergency brought on by a blocked or burst artery in the brain, and vascular impairment can eventually lead to one.
Chronic stress can also lead to poor coping mechanisms like smoking, which is yet another major risk factor for stroke. It makes the blood thicker, narrows the arteries, and raises the chance of clotting.
Can a Stroke Cause High Blood Pressure?
The answer is a definite yes! High blood pressure and blood sugar levels can eventually rise to diabetes and hypertension, respectively, which are two of the main risk factors for stroke.
Your arteries are continuously stressed as a result of high blood pressure. Too much force inside your blood arteries harms and weakens the artery walls, similar to an overinflated tire. This in many ways describes how can stress cause a stroke, since everything remains connected.
According to a 2015 study, high blood pressure affects 77% of people who experience their first stroke. Keeping your blood pressure at a healthy level of less than 120/80 is the best approach to prevent strokes. There are two basic forms of stroke, and both are made more likely by high blood pressure.
1) Strokes brought on by brain hemorrhage
These strokes are hemorrhagic. They typically cause more severe and fatal injuries than clot-based ones. A weak blood artery ruptures frequently as a result of an aneurysm, a place where pressure has caused it to expand. Atherosclerosis caused by high blood pressure increases the risk of artery rupture.
Furthermore, clots brought on by hypertension might result in transient mini-strokes. The term transient ischemic attack, or TIA, refers to when a clot spontaneously breaks up or moves. Although most people who experience TIAs recover well, they are a sign that a full-blown stroke may be imminent. The connection then becomes linear and the answer to can stress cause a stroke becomes simpler.
2) Strokes brought on by blood flow obstruction
A clot or other obstruction that prevents blood from reaching the brain causes strokes in nearly 9 out of 10 instances. This type of stroke is referred to as ischemic. Brain cells begin to perish without oxygen within minutes.
A clot typically develops at the location of a blocked blood artery or elsewhere in the body before traveling to the brain. Even in this scenario, the answer to the issue of whether stress can cause a stroke remains the same.
Work, relationships, or financial difficulties are the main causes of chronic stress. Although we can't always control certain circumstances, we can control our reactions. Exercise and deep breathing are two activities that can help lower stress levels and, as a result, lower your risk of stroke.
While some self-care techniques can help you cope with stress, there are times when you may require professional assistance. Consult your doctor if you're having difficulty coping, your daily life is being hampered by stress, you have additional illness symptoms in addition to stress or your stress has not decreased as a result of self-care. What you need to know is not how can stress cause a stroke, but what you can do about it.
Janvi Kapur is a counselor with a Master's degree in applied psychology with a specialization in clinical psychology.
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