Anxiety is often accompanied by stomach upsets, headaches, twitches, and insomnia, but Science Daily reports that it may also result in a more dangerous condition like stroke.

Researchers from the American Heart Association worked with 6,019 individuals between 25 to 74 years old over 22 years in order to see the link between anxiety disorders and stroke risk. The participants were asked to undergo interviews, medical and psychological examinations, and blood tests to measure their anxiety levels. Stroke incidences were based on hospital records and death certificates.

The results showed that those in "the highest third of anxiety symptoms had a 33 percent higher stroke risk" compared to those in the lower brackets.

“Everyone has some anxiety now and then,” says study author Maya Lambiase, Ph.D. “But when it's elevated and/or chronic, it may have an effect on your vasculature years down the road.”

Those with high anxiety levels were found to be more prone to smoke and have sedentary lifestyles, which may explain why stroke risk becomes high. The overproduction of stress hormones as well as high heart rate and blood pressure levels may also be attributed to the increased risk.

Researchers recommend those with anxiety disorders to learn about their condition, determine their worries, practice relaxation techniques, and change their lifestyles. When these don’t work, it's best to seek the help of a therapist.

(Photo by ona Anglada Pujol via Flickr Creative Commons)

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