Get 10% Off*, Use Code: HPFYP10

Online since 2002 |   866-316-0162

Articles and News

Is Stress Linked To Stroke?

Is Stress Linked To Stroke?
Laura Castricone, CRT

To understand how stress can make you more susceptible to having a stroke, you must first understand what happens to our bodies when we are under stress.  

Currently, stress can be found in almost every person and almost every walk of life. We have undergone many changes as a society in the past few years and have endured many stressors such as a pandemic, social restrictions, financial strains, isolation, loss of jobs or loved ones, more responsibilities to care for children and our elderly family members, and the list goes on. When we experience a period of stress many changes take place in our bodies.    

Stress can cause us to be exposed to toxins produced by our bodies. When we are under stress, we release cortisol which is our “fight or flight” hormone. Our heart rate increases and our heart has to work harder which can increase blood pressure. Cortisol can increase fat and sugar levels in the blood and in turn, all of these changes in our blood chemistry can cause clots to form. Strokes occur when a clot travels through a blood vessel and gets stuck and blocks off the flow of blood to part of the brain. The part of the brain that is affected dies due to lack of blood flow and this causes what we call a “stroke.” When a stroke occurs, it can affect any part of the brain. Affected parts of the brain may control speech, movement, vision, or cognition. Once the brain tissue dies, it cannot regenerate.   

A recent study published by the American Heart Association journal “Stroke,” showed that participants who reported the highest stress levels were 33% more likely to have a stroke than those who reported less stress or anxiety levels. This study involved 6,000 participants who were followed over 22 years. When we refer to stress in these studies, we are not talking about one or two bad or stressful days. People who fall into this category are experiencing “chronic stress.” This chronic stress condition causes increased inflammation in the arteries and other parts of the body. This inflammation can narrow or make blood vessels weak. Weakened vessels can form clots more easily, rupture, or leak causing decreased or absent blood flow to parts of the brain, then stroke occurs.   

Stress Relief Products
Insomnia Products
Best Blood Glucose Meters

So, what can we do to try and decrease our stress levels?  

  • Exercise - It is known that exercise can increase levels of oxytocin in the bloodstream. Oxytocin is one of our “feel-good” hormones. Exercise can be minimal or vigorous to release these endorphins.  
  • Meditation - When we still our minds to meditate, we are trying not to think of our everyday stressors. Using guided meditation can help distract the mind from the stress of life  
  • Keep in contact with others - As humans, we are very social and enjoy the company of others. Try to make time to spend with those that help uplift your spirits. Join a group of like-minded people. 
  • Manage your social media time - Even though many of us keep in touch with our friends and family through social media outlets, it can be depressing when we see what wonderful or exciting lives others may be having as they post pictures of their activities. Don’t fall victim to this. No one has a perfect life. If you are struggling emotionally, limit how much exposure you have to social media. And take what people do and say with a grain of salt. Everyone wants those around them to think that they have no issues and that their lives are perfect. Perfect is what makes YOU happy.  
  • Get adequate sleep - If you are not sleeping at least 7 hours as an adult, then you are not sleeping enough. Lack of sleep, sleep disorders, or insomnia can increase the amount of cortisol that is dumped into your system during sleep. This can lead to an increase in blood sugar and fat levels.  
  • Eat well - Sugars and processed foods increase cortisol levels. Try a diet with fruits, vegetables, and fiber-filled foods. It is now known that gut health is important in regulating hormones in the body.  
  • Engage in deep breathing exercises. There is no need to spend money on special classes or anything else when you can do some deep breathing exercises at home, or work whenever you need to. Using the 4-7-8 technique can help enormously in slowing down breathing and distracting your mind.   

Stress is a killer! Stroke is only one of its side effects. It can also cause cardiovascular problems, mental disorders, eating disorders, and other issues. If you or anyone that you love is experiencing more stress than is normal or is visibly being affected by their stress, encourage them to seek medical treatment and support. 


Author Profile: Laura Castricone, Respiratory Therapist

Laura Castricone (Certified Respiratory Therapist)

My name is Laura Castricone and I am a Certified Respiratory Therapist. I have been practicing in the state of Connecticut since 1992. I have worked in several aspects of respiratory care including sleep medicine, critical care, rehab, and home care. I earned my respiratory certification at Quinnipiac University in Hamden, CT. Prior to becoming an RT, I attended the University of Connecticut pursuing a degree in English but left Uconn in my junior year to work with my father in the restaurant business. I stayed with him for over a dozen years. An education, by the way, that can never be bought! Once I married and had children, the restaurant business no longer fit my lifestyle. When my children were one and two years old, I decided to go back to school and that is where my career in respiratory care began. This career has been very rewarding and I have been blessed to meet some extraordinary people along the way. I grew up in Waterbury, CT, and now live in Litchfield County, CT with my husband and our crazy Jack Russell terrier, Hendrix. My hobbies include antiquing, gardening, writing plays, and painting miniature paintings.



Disclaimer: All content found on our website, including images, videos, infographics, and text were created solely for informational purposes. Our reviewed content should never be used for the purpose of diagnosis or treatment of any medical conditions. Content shared on our websites is not meant to be used as a substitute for advice from a certified medical professional. Reliance on the information provided on our website as a basis for patient treatment is solely at your own risk. We urge all our customers to always consult a physician or a certified medical professional before trying or using a new medical product.


HPFY Laura Castricone, CRT

Laura Castricone, CRT

LinkedIn Profile My name is Laura Castricone and I am a Certified Respiratory Therapist. I have been practicing in the state of Connecticut since 1992. I have worked in several aspects of respiratory ...

Continue reading

Trending Articles

How To Increase Iron Levels Quickly

HPFY Staff Writer

It’s a question that must have puzzled you like many others. Iron is essential in hemoglobin production and its inadequate levels can negatively impact your health. Dive into this informative article to explore top iron-rich foods that can help you fight iron deficiency.

10 Best Coccyx Cushions for Tailbone Pain

HPFY Staff Writer

If you're like most people, you spend about 8 to 10 hours sitting every day. However unhealthy, it is part of life for many, and can cause tailbone pain. Coccyx cushions can help alleviate this pain. Click to read more and find the perfect coccyx cushion for your tailbone pain.

5+ Best Adult Diapers for Fecal Incontinence

HPFY Staff Writer

Dealing with fecal incontinence can be challenging, but you're not alone. Read this article and navigate through discreet and effective solutions that help you manage fecal incontinence and let you live life on your terms with confidence and comfort.

Top 5 Best Reviewed Nebulizers of 2024

HPFY Staff Writer

Need an effective and affordable nebulizer? Look no further, in this article we offer 5 of our best reviewed nebulizers that are loved by our customers. Click to read more and find the perfect nebulizer for all your respiratory needs.

10 Best Penis Pumps For Erectile Dysfunction

HPFY Staff Writer

For anyone dealing with erectile dysfunction, penis pumps serve as a great way to manage it. But with so many products available, determining the best one for your needs can be challenging. To assist you in refining your choices and making an informed decision, here are our top 10 options, recognized for their effectiveness and safety.