The emotional stress and risk of ischemic stroke

Neurol Neurochir Pol. 2016 Jul-Aug;50(4):265-70. doi: 10.1016/j.pjnns.2016.03.006. Epub 2016 Mar 23.


Stroke is the second leading cause of death worldwide, and the leading cause of acquired disability in adults in most regions. There have been distinguished modifiable and non-modifiable risk factors of stroke. Among them the emotional stress was presented as a risk factor. The aim of this review was to present available data regarding the influence of acute and chronic mental stress on the risk of ischemic stroke as well as discussing the potential pathomechanisms of such relationship. There is an evident association between both acute and chronic emotional stress and risk of stroke. Several potential mechanisms are discussed to be the cause. Stress can increase the cerebrovascular disease risk by modulating symphaticomimetic activity, affecting the blood pressure reactivity, cerebral endothelium, coagulation or heart rhythm. The emotional stress seems to be still underestimated risk factor in neurological practice and research. Further studies and analyses should be provided for better understanding of this complex, not fully known epidemiological problem.

Keywords: Cerebral stroke; Emotional stress; Risk factor.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Brain Ischemia / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Risk Factors
  • Stress, Psychological / psychology*
  • Stroke / psychology*