Study reports OCD linked to increased ischemic stroke risk later in life

Updated:2 months ago

New Delhi, May 28 (ANI): Adults who have obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) were more than three times as likely to have an ischemic stroke later in life compared to adults who do not have OCD, according to a new research. The research was published in Stroke, a journal of the American Stroke Association, a division of the American Heart Association. The results of our study should encourage people with OCD to maintain a healthy lifestyle, such as quitting or not smoking, getting regular physical activity and managing a healthy weight to avoid stroke-related risk factors. Worldwide, stroke is the second-leading cause of death after heart disease. Stroke is a medical emergency that occurs when blood and oxygen flow to the brain are interrupted, usually by a blood clot (ischemic stroke). Less common is a stroke from a burst blood vessel that causes bleeding in the brain (hemorrhagic stroke). In both types of stroke, immediate treatment is critical to prevent brain damage, disability or death. The abbreviation F.A.S.T. can help people remember the warning signs and what to do: F-face drooping, A-arm weakness, S-speech difficulty, T-time to call 9-1-1. OCD is a common, sometimes debilitating, mental health condition characterized by intrusive, unwanted thoughts, ideas or sensations (obsessions) that make a person feel driven to do something repetitively (compulsions). The repetitive behaviours characteristic of OCD, such as hand washing, checking on things or continuously cleaning, can significantly interfere with a person's daily activities and social interactions. Previous research found that OCD often occurs after a stroke or other brain injuries. What remained unclear was whether the reverse is true: can OCD increase stroke risk? The average age at diagnosis with OCD was 37 years, and women and men were nearly equally represented in the data. The analysis found: -Adults with OCD were more than three times as likely to have a stroke from a blood clot compared to adults who did not have OCD; the greatest risk was among adults ages 60 and older. OCD was an independent risk factor for ischemic stroke even after controlling for other factors known to increase stroke risk, including obesity, heart disease, smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and Type 2 diabetes. -No difference in risk was found for a hemorrhagic stroke (burst blood vessel). Similarly, medications to treat OCD were not associated with an increased risk of stroke. More research is needed to understand how the mental processes connected to OCD may increase the risk of ischemic stroke.

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