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Study finds link between stress and stroke

A new study shows a likely link between chronic stress and stroke risk, ABC News reports.

The report cites a study, published in the Journal of Neurology Neurosurgery and Psychiatry, in which Spanish researchers evaluated 450 people. They found strokes were more common among those with stressful lives and high-strung personalities, even after controlling for risk factors like smoking and diabetes.

A stroke occurs when a blood vessel in the brain becomes blocked or ruptures, stopping the flow of oxygenated blood. And while the mechanism is unclear, previous studies have linked stress to the common cold, cancer and heart disease, ABC News reports. A 2011 study also found that people with optimistic outlooks are less likely to suffer strokes.

Medical researchers have also identified a number of risk factors for the blood clots that can trigger strokes if they migrate to the brain. Those risk factors include smoking, a family history of blood clots, pregnancy, recent surgery and a sedentary lifestyle.

While most birth control pills can increase the risk of blood clots, a number of studies show that those containing the compound drospirenone carry up to three times the risk compared to other oral contraceptives on the market. Birth control pills with drospirenone include Yasmin, Yaz, Beyaz and Ocella.

Despite the apparent link, ABC News reports, the Spanish study was unable to say conclusively that stress causes strokes. It’s theoretically possible, for example, that strokes make people more prone to remembering stressful events.

Still the findings add to mounting evidence that psychological stress can take a physical toll.

The report quotes study co-author Dr. Ana Maria Garcia of the Hospital Clinico Universitario San Carlos in Madrid as saying: “If you have stress, your risk for stroke is heightened.”

Patients should consult their doctors before making any changes in their medication. A consultation with a Beyaz lawyer is also important if there are significant injuries while on Beyaz or similar birth control pills.

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