Psychological distress significantly increases risk of stroke and MI


  • Mary Corcoran
  • Univadis Medical News
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Adults aged 45 or older who experience psychological distress such as depression and anxiety, may have an increased risk of developing cardiovascular disease, suggests new research published in Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes

For the study, researchers examined data on 221,677 members of the general population in New South Wales (NSW), Australia to investigate whether psychological distress is associated with risk of myocardial infarction (MI) and stroke. 

They found the a bsolute risk of MI and stroke increased with increasing psychological distress levels. 

High/very high psychological distress was associated with a 44 per cent increased stroke risk in women and a 24 per cent increased risk in men. High/very high psychological distress was associated with an 18 per cent increased risk of MI in women. In men aged 45 to 79 years, high/very high versus low psychological distress was associated with a 30 per cent increased risk of MI, with weaker estimates in those 80 years old or older.

The authors said the growing evidence in this area supports the need to encourage screening for cardiovascular risk factors among people with symptoms of psychological distress. 

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