Don’t Worry, Be Happy!
Welcome to the fourth lesson of the course. Today I have four questions for you.
Can you know if you’re sad or depressed?
Can you know if you’re stressed or having a panic attack?
Can you know if you’re stressed or depressed?
It may seem that the last question is easier to respond to. However, because of many common similarities, often it’s very difficult to distinguish between them. On the other hand, it’s more important to know whether you’re experiencing stress or depression, as they can affect you in very different ways. Studies show that they can both raise your risk of suffering a stroke by 6%. This is because both stressed and depressed people smoke more, drink more, eat more, and exercise less, all of which can independently increase their chances of having a stroke.
While these unhealthy habits and behaviors of stressed out or depressed people are the main explanation for increased risks to date, one recent study indicated that higher risks can be linked to increased activity in the area of the brain that deals with stress, which leads to arterial inflammation and increased risk of subsequent cardiovascular events.
Nowadays, being stressed or depressed is far from being rare. Yet these are the risk factors that many overlook. They can get worse, and without timely and professional assistance, they put people at higher risk for stroke and other medical complications.
If you suspect you may have either of them, don’t stay quiet! Don’t underestimate it! Don’t feel embarrassed or ashamed! Ask for emotional support! Talk to your doctor or healthcare provider.
Infectious causes of stroke
At the beginning of this lesson I said I have four questions. Here is the fourth:
Have you ever thought that the flu could cause you to have a stroke?
In fact, there is increasing medical evidence that the flu and other bacterial and viral infections, mainly respiratory ones, can be independent trigger factors that temporarily increase the risk of stroke, particularly during the first week of the infection. For this reason, several anti-infective strategies have already been successfully applied for stroke prevention.
An interesting example is a vaccination against the flu that contributed to a reduced risk of stroke. Now people with previous stroke experience and those at high risk of stroke are encouraged to receive an annual flu vaccination.
Another interesting fact is that oral cavity infections can also be correlated with higher stroke risk. A very recent study showed that many stroke patients have at last one infection in the oral cavity. This means that good dental hygiene can also help lower our stroke risk.
Tomorrow we’ll discuss another risk factor we can keep under control and gender differences in stroke.
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