The relationship between Stress and Stroke

02.11.23 10:41 AM Comment(s) By Laura

What is Stress?

The World Health Organization defines stress as “ a state of worry or mental tension caused by a difficult situation. Stress is a natural human response that prompts us to address challenges and threats in our lives”.

Stress can appear in the form of work-place stress, where in our everyday jobs we experience a certain level of worry or tension in order to do a good job and meet deadlines.

It is when these challenges and threats become too much that we develop negative stress that then can lead to the development of other health conditions such as a Stroke.

What is a Stroke?

Holland (2023) states that a stroke occurs when blood flow to a part of the brain is interrupted. These interruptions can be caused by a blood clot or a burst blood vessel. Symptoms include sudden muscle weakness, confusion, visual changes, and difficulty speaking.” 

See below the FAST acronym used to identify when someone is having a stroke:

How are they related?


According to Flint Rehab (2023) stress can cause increased blood pressure, high blood sugar, and changes to the blood vessels, making it a major risk factor for stroke. Stress therefore causes the heart to work harder and increases the risk of clots forming and travelling to the heart or brain, causing a heart attack or stroke.

Responding to stress with anger can also make matters worse. Anger increases your heart rate and your blood pressure, putting you at risk of a heart attack.

Furthermore, when we are stressed we are more likely to neglect our mind and body and develop negative habits to cope such as smoking and drinking alcohol, which are high risk factors for a stroke. Not finding the time to relax our mind through meditation or mindfulness while we are stressed can also impact our health and cause us to develop other physical and mental health issues. 

How to reduce the risk

Here are some tips by the Stroke Association as to how we can reduce our stress levels and therefore reduce the risk of developing a Stroke.

Keep a daily routine

Get plenty of sleep

Connect with others

Eat healthy


Cut down on alcohol

Stop smoking

Practice mindfulness

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