Can Stress Cause a Stroke: 3 Biggest Factors of Stress

Can stress cause a stroke? We all have heard and know that stroke can happen because of some cardiovascular strain, but still, not many people are aware of the increased risk of chronic stress.

Is it true that stress can cause a stroke and become the reaper of your life? In this article, we will study the ultimate villain of our lives- Stress & can stress cause a stroke1.

Stress comes in all packages, large and small, enough and unattractive, simple and complex. All too frequently, the package is a surprise.

In today’s time, stress is quite common in all age groups, from teenagers to adults alike. People are stressed over different things. Kids are stressed about studies and career choices, and adults are stressed about life choices and workloads.

1. What is Stress?

Stress, some theorists have argued, is a stimulus for a reaction; meanwhile, other theorists have stated that stress is itself a response to a stimulus.

But in the end, we can say that stress is neither stimulus nor a response but rather a transactional process between stimulus and reaction.

Stress is derived from the Latin word-“Strictus2,” meaning tight and narrow; this verb means the feeling of tightness and constriction of the muscles and the respiratory difficulty that one feels when under stress.

Therefore, stress is a pattern of responses that an individual makes to a stimulus event that disturbs the equilibrium of the human body and causes other difficulties like stroke risk, high blood pressure, blood sugar complications, heart disease, and many more.

Think of stress as electricity and yourself as an electrical bulb; now, when too much electricity is passed through a bulb, it fuses, same happens with your body when you go through extreme stress.

Although a proper amount of electricity is needed for the bulb to glow, similar is the situation with stress, and It helps you perform better and promotes growth.

The previous level of stress is determined as Distress, and the latter is called Eustress3, i.e., a good amount of stress.

Besides these stress levels, three types of stress can hinder your personal growth and be a risk factor.

2. Types of Stress and Risk Factor:

There are mainly 3 types of stress known: environmental stress, psychological stress4, and social stress which can lead to many stressful situations. It can result in the generation of many health issues like diabetes, blood pressure, anxiety, tension, fatigue, blocked arteries, and many more.

2.1 Environmental Stress:

Environmental Stress

Have you ever felt like you just came home from an office meeting and suddenly there is some heavy traffic on the adjacent road of your house, your wife’s cooking meal is alarmin with the pressure cooker, and your children are playing with loud, noisy robots?

Family members and their activities are nothing personal to you, or you might think they are just giving you headaches and nothing more. But they are the kind of stressors you will find in your environment and can be the reason for the increase in stress levels.

2.2 Social Stress:

You just had a breakup, your dog died, or you are a victim of an extreme earthquake, and your house fell.

Stressful situations like these social factors in your society and your social life affect you in several ways. Those stressors are social stress and can contribute to stroke risk factors.

2.3 Psychological Stress:

Psychological stressors are those that are a result of your psyche conflicts and can be caused in many ways. Some of them are conflict, frustration, pressure, and change.

Conflict can be your inner conflicts between your two thoughts, and frustration results from a failure in an attempt to fulfill your goal.

Pressure can be any form of expectation that one is demanded to perform in a certain way. Change can be any noticeable alteration in one’s life. All these factors can be a risk of stroke.

Also, learn: Can Stress Cause High Cholesterol: 5 Effective Exercises to Lower Stress

3. How is a Stroke Procedure?

To explain a body’s response to stress, Hans Syle introduced a General Adaptation Syndrome 5model, which includes three stages: Alarm, Resistance, and Exhaustion.

3.1 Alarm:

When any stressor attacks us, our body tries to either fight or fight the stress. Our ANS releases hormones like adrenaline or others to act in this alarming stage in this first step.

3.2 Resistance:

Resistance is the stage when our body tries to resist stress and tries to save our body from parasympathetic and sympathetic procedures.

3.3 Exhaustion:

It is the stage where our body runs out of every source to save our body, and stress overcomes all stress hormones like cortisol.

Our body faces the risk of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and even heart attack in this stage.

general adaptation syndrome model

4. Results of Stress:

Stress can result in several things that can hinder you in living your normal day-to-day lives. It can turn into grievous results like heart attack, brain damage, and many more health conditions.

Some of the common symptoms and main reasons behind stress are low control over your life choices and life decisions. The results of stress are described below:

  • High levels of stress can cause decreased blood flow in your arteries and the brain.
  • A stroke occurs when a body is under extreme pressure for a consistently long time.
  • Stress leads to constricted blood vessels that can dampen blood pressure reactivity.
  • It can lead to high cholesterol.
  • Stress is directly proportionate to hypertension and its further effects on the body’s internal organs and many more.
  • Research shows that people suffering from highly stressful situations have a shorter life span.
  • Stress can take you to the situation of consuming alcohol and even attracts you to harmful addictions like smoking.
  • Patients with diabetes and heart conditions are especially advised to control and treat their stress levels as it worsens one’s conditions.
  • Some of the immediate results of stress are fatigue, nausea, vomiting, headaches, chest pain, fainting, and unconsciousness.
  • Apart from physical complications, stressful conditions can also barge your personal and social life. It can deteriorating your job environment, personal relations, and life-linked chores.
  • Higher levels of stressful situations can even result in one’s body undergoing the risk of being comatose. Hence, the ultimate and obvious result of stress is death. Yes, stress can cause a stroke, But this article is not here to make you scared or afraid but to pose the truth to the audience.

Getting to Know Your Brain: Dealing with Stress

5. Managing Stressful situations with therapy and mental health resources:

Stress is an obvious constant player in everyone’s life. Stressful situations have been linked to many deadly results, but in this case, what can save you from this evil truth is explained in this category.

  • Whenever you feel stressed or seem like you are losing yourself in those higher vibrations and drenched in sweat, help out yourself with some deep breathing techniques. You need to shut your eyes, feel yourself, take three deep breaths, then count from 5 to 0 in decreasing manner, and you will calmly find yourself.
  • Stress increases your risk of stroke. A very good preventive measure to help you out and keep at bay these situations is to take small and even big breaks. Take small breaks from work, go for a little walk or anything, and find yourself refreshed.
  • Take some time off from your daily chores, and go on a vacation. Even if just for a weekend, go to the nearby amusement park, and do some recreational activities.
  • To relieve your brain from the extreme pressures of stress, keep yourself hydrated and nutritional. Sometimes, some relaxing beverages and energy drinks can help.

We can conclude that excess stress can lead to higher risks of cardiovascular diseases, mostly high blood pressure or heart issues. These, in turn, can at some point lead to the formation of clots in the brain and heart, which can ultimately cause a stroke.

Suppose you feel like stress is becoming a hindrance in your life and is stopping you from achieving some goals. Then maybe it is time to consider a mental health professional and seek support from therapy.

Reach out to help anytime: http://www.healthcollective.in/contact/helplines/

11. FAQs

11.1 How Does the Body Respond to Stress?

The body responds to stress in a variety of ways, including the release of stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline. Chronic or prolonged stress can harm a number of bodily systems, including the cardiovascular system.

11.2 Are Certain People More Prone to Stress Strokes?

Stress-related strokes may be more common in people with pre-existing risk factors for stroke, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, or a history of cardiovascular disease. Additionally, those who lack adequate coping skills may be more severely affected by stress.

11.3 Can Stress Management Approaches Speed Up the Recovery from a Stroke?

Techniques for reducing stress can help people recover from strokes. Recovering from a stroke requires good cardiovascular health, which can be improved by lowering stress levels. Techniques for reducing stress may also enhance mental health and quality of life when a person is recovering.

  1. Stinear, Cathy M., et al. “Advances and challenges in stroke rehabilitation.” The Lancet Neurology 19.4 (2020): 348-360. ↩︎
  2. Shukla, S. R., et al. “Studies on laminated and scrimber composites produced from thermally modified D. strictus bamboo bonded with melamine-based adhesive.” Industrial Crops and Products 188 (2022): 115649. ↩︎
  3. Sies, Helmut. “Oxidative eustress: On constant alert for redox homeostasis.” Redox Biology 41 (2021): 101867. ↩︎
  4. Cooke, Jessica E., et al. “Prevalence of posttraumatic and general psychological stress during COVID-19: A rapid review and meta-analysis.” Psychiatry research 292 (2020): 113347. ↩︎
  5. Shahrizaila, Nortina, Helmar C. Lehmann, and Satoshi Kuwabara. “Guillain-Barré syndrome.” The lancet 397.10280 (2021): 1214-1228. ↩︎

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