THURSDAY, Aug. 30 (HealthDay News) -- Stressed-out, type A personalities may be more likely to suffer a stroke than their mellow counterparts, a new Spanish study suggests.
Previous research has linked stress to heart disease, but this latest finding, which appears online Aug. 29 in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry, looked at stress in relation to stroke risk.
Researchers from the Hospital Clinico Universitario San Carlos in Madrid compared stroke risk factors, including stress levels, among 150 adults who had a stroke and 300 healthy adults (the "control" group). Stress levels were measured using standardized tools assessing major life events, anxiety and depression, general well-being and personality type. Participants also answered questions about their caffeine, alcohol and energy drink intake, smoking status and whether or not they had a job.
Having had a stressful major life event in the past year quadrupled the risk of stroke, while having a type A personality doubled the chances, according to Dr. Jose Antonio Egido and colleagues. Smoking or having smoked in the past also doubled the chances, the investigators found.
"Addressing the influence of psychophysical factors on stroke could constitute an additional therapeutic line in the primary prevention of stroke in the at-risk population and, as such, warrants further investigation," the study authors concluded.
Experts agreed the finding could help doctors better understand the effect of stress on stroke risk. But while the study did show an association between the two it did not prove cause and effect.
"This study is useful and valuable because it shows us that there is an association between stress, type A personalities and stroke risk," said Dr. Deepak Bhatt, director of the integrated cardiovascular intervention program at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston. "Stress
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