People with obsessive-compulsive disorder, also known as OCD, maybe more than three times more likely to suffer a stroke, according to a new study by Taiwanese experts. The study’s authors are unsure why this is so.
Other mental health disorders, such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and major depression, as well as other physical issues, such as elevated blood pressure and type 2 diabetes, are thought to increase the risk of OCD patients, as per the researchers.
People With OCD Have More Chances Of Being Prone To Strokes
However, after controlling for stroke-related conditions such as metabolic disorders and other severe mental illnesses, research co-author Tai-Long Pan found that OCD was an independent risk factor for ischemic stroke. He teaches at Chang Gung University, Taoyuan’s School of Traditional Chinese Medicine.
Physicians should keep a careful eye on cerebrovascular illness and other hazards in individuals with OCD, he says.
The researchers emphasized that their findings do not show that OCD causes strokes, merely that there appears to be a link.
Pan’s team reviewed Taiwanese national health data for about 28,000 persons with OCD and 28,000 persons without the disease for the research.
Individuals with OCD were more than three times as likely as those without OCD to suffer a stroke throughout 11 years. The statistics revealed that people aged 60 and up were most in danger.
The stroke risk persisted when other variables such as obesity, heart disease, smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and type 2 diabetes were taken into consideration, as per the study’s authors.
A blockage in an artery providing blood to the brain causes an ischemic stroke. The risk of hemorrhagic stroke (caused by bleeding in the brain) was not observed to differ. Neither were OCD drugs associated with an increased risk of stroke.
Pan believes that good lifestyle behaviors, such as stopping smoking and getting enough exercise, can help avoid strokes. Everyone, including family and friends, is needed to assist patients in achieving this aim.
OCD is defined by intrusive, unwanted thoughts and obsessions that cause a person to repeatedly perform an activity. Hand-washing, excessive checking on objects, and excessive cleaning are examples of repetitive habits. These habits can obstruct everyday activities as well as social interactions.
Dr. Goldstein, who is the chairman of the Kentucky Department of Neurology University, Lexington, examined the findings of the study. As per Goldstein, the real risk of stroke in OCD patients is quite minimal.
Although the overall risk of ischemic stroke is about three times greater in people with a history of OCD, the absolute risk is minimal, less than 1% throughout the study, he noted. Throughout the study, individuals with OCD had only one additional stroke.
Goldstein also stated that the findings might be influenced by characteristics that the researchers were unable to check for, thus weakening the correlation they discovered.
He emphasized that there has been no evaluation of the types or effectiveness of risk factor controls in lowering stroke probabilities over time.
Goldstein stated that because the study was done in Taiwan, further research is still needed to see whether the findings would be comparable in other countries.
Nonetheless, he believes the findings should spur deeper research into the link between OCD and stroke risk.
The study’s shortcomings were that it only included strokes among patients who sought medical attention so that some occurrences may have gone unnoticed. Information on illness severity, as well as family medical history and environmental variables, were not included. The study was also observational, so it could only indicate a link between OCD and subsequent stroke; it cannot prove cause and effect.