When I ask my clients, on a scale of one to ten where there daily stress level is, the numbers I hear more than any others are seven and eight.  Sometimes an acute event such as a family hospitalization or a wedding has run the numbers up.  But often the number reflects the chronic stress of a busy and demanding work and family life.  This chronic stress in turn can lead to depression and health risks including stroke.

     In the United States, the Number 3 cause of death is stroke and is a leading cause of disability.  Speech problems, paralysis and weakness in the limbs are all complications that can be experienced by those who have suffered a stroke.  Researchers studied 1200 people.  Six hundred of these people had recently had a stroke while the other 600 had not.  The study reported that people who had experienced stress for a year or more were at 3.5 times greater risk for ischemic stroke .  Nearly 800,000 Americans suffer a stroke each year.  About 87% of those have an ischemic stroke where a clot blocks blood flow to the brain.  The other 13% have a hemorrhagic stroke where a blood vessel ruptures in the brain.

       Physicians and researchers believe chronic stress raises stroke risk by triggering the secretion of cortisol.  This hormone can increase inflammation, raise blood pressure,  and destabilize blood sugar. All of these can elevate stroke risk.  If you feel like you are dealing with unrelieved stress or depression or are having symptoms like changes in sleep habits or weight, it's time to see your physician.

     You doctor my prescribe an antidepressant and may also recommend cognitive behavioral therapy.  Changes in life style such as a healthful diet, regular and sufficient sleep and regular exercise will help deal with both stress and depression.  If you need motivation to make those life style changes, see a hypnotherapist to get motivated and BE WELL>