How does psychological distress affect MI and stroke risk?

Feeling nervous or tired could induce inflammation, say UK researchers

Psychological distress markedly increases men’s risk of having a myocardial infarction and women’s risk of having a stroke, according to new findings from the 45 and Up Study.

Men who reported high levels of mental distress had a 30% increased risk of myocardial infarction (MI) and a 24% increased risk of stroke, according to the UK-led research, which analysed data from the prospective, longitudinal NSW cohort.

Among women, mental distress was linked to an 18% higher risk for MI but a 44% increase in risk of stroke.

Among the cohort of more than 200,000 participants, who were followed up for an average of five years, there were 4573 MIs and 2421 strokes.

Mental distress was gauged with the self-administered 10-item K10 scale that included questions about feeling nervous, tired out, restless, depressed and other psychological burdens.

The findings were robust and dose

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