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Can stress cause stroke?

We asked Dr Arvind Chandratheva, who is the clinical lead for the TIA service at the Hyperacute stroke unit University College London Hospitals, whether stress can cause stroke. This is what he said.

Stress can have many effects. Directly one wouldn’t expect it to be related to causing a stroke because it doesn’t necessarily cause a clot, but stress can affect your blood pressure and that can have an add on effect as a vascular risk factor for stroke.

Stress can affect how people sleep and we know sleep patterns are really important as to how you manage the day.  Therefore, stress can certainly indirectly have an effect.

When we’re thinking about managing patients after they’ve had a stroke or transient ischemic attack (TIA), we’re not just focusing on one risk factor, what I always say to the patient is that this is an opportunity to look at your vascular health. We’re not just looking at one factor and we should take this as an opportunity to see if you can change things and lay the building blocks for later.

It’s all about prevention. Prevention is key and I would take a visit to the clinic as an opportunity to look at things like stress, anxiety, exercise, diet, and lifestyle before they cause a problem.