Friday, February 14, 2014

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Anxiety Appears to Increase Risk of Stroke

National Institute of Mental Health Clinical C...
National Institute of Mental Health Clinical Center (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
We all experience feelings of fear, anxiety, and worry from time-to-time. These are common emotions that, while potentially unpleasant, are not necessarily harmful. Anxiety disorders, on the other hand, are potentially serious problems that can lead to great distress or difficulty meeting the demands of daily life.

Anxiety disorders are one of the most common mental health problems. Different anxiety disorders involve different combinations of symptoms, but some of the more common include feelings of panic or fear, excessive worries that may be difficult to control, problems sleeping, tension, restlessness, and stress. Fortunately, many anxiety disorders respond well to treatment, and brief counseling can often provide relief for the symptoms of anxiety.

Now there is another reason why individuals experiencing chronic anxiety should consider seeking help. The American Heart Association's blog reports that a study published last year in Stroke and funded by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute and the National Institute of Mental Health found that symptoms of anxiety were associated with an increased stroke risk. Thus, chronic untreated anxiety may be a risk factor for serious medical problems.

As we learn more about the relationship of various mental illnesses to other medical problems, the importance of seeking mental health treatment becomes clearer.