Adults with obsessive-compulsive disorder, a common mental health condition known as OCD, may have more than three times the risk of having a stroke, according to a new report by Taiwanese researchers.
Why was the study author unsure?
Researchers speculate on other mental health problems people with OCD experience – “co-disorder” such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and major depression – may increase the risk as well as other health conditions, such as high blood pressure and diabetes. 2
“But OCD is an independent risk factor for ischemic stroke after adjustment for cerebrovascular disease, including metabolic disorders and other serious mental disorders,”; said Tai-Long. Said Pan, co-author of the study. He is a professor in the School of Chinese Medicine at Chang Gung University in Taoyuan City.
“Doctors should closely monitor stroke and associated risks in people with OCD,” he said.
The researchers stress that the study did not prove that OCD caused stroke. But it seems to be related.
For the study, Pan’s team compared Taiwan’s National Health Data with more than 28,000 adults with OCD and 28,000 without the condition.
Over the past 11 years, people with OCD were three times more likely to have a stroke than those without OCD, data showed that people over the age of 60 were most at risk.
The study authors said stroke risk remained despite other factors such as obesity, heart disease, smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and type 2 diabetes.
Ischemic stroke is a blockage of the arteries that supply blood to the brain. No differences were found in ischemic stroke risk. (Caused by brain hemorrhage) No drug to treat OCD has been linked to increased stroke risk.
“To have a healthy life [lifestyle habits] For example, quitting smoking and getting regular exercise may be important in preventing stroke, “Pan said.” The way to help our patients achieve this goal needs the help of everyone.
OCD is characterized by intrusive and unwanted thoughts and obsessions that drive someone to repeat the behavior over and over.Repetitive behaviors can include washing hands, examining things, or cleaning obsessively. These behaviors can interfere with daily activities and social interactions.
Dr. Larry Goldstein, chair of the Department of Neurology at the University of Kentucky in Lexington, reviewed the study results.
Goldstein pointed out, the true risk of stroke in people with OCD is relatively low.
“Although the relative risk of ischemic stroke is approximately three times higher in people with a history of OCD, the true risk is slightly greater than 1% during the follow-up period,” he said.
That translates to one additional stroke during the follow-up period for people with OCD.
Goldstein also said the findings could be affected by factors that the researchers could not control, which could weaken the identified link.
He pointed out that there was no evaluation of the type or effectiveness of risk factor control over time to reduce the odds of a stroke.
The study was conducted in Taiwan and more research is needed to learn if the results will be similar in other populations, Goldstein added.
“However, the results should stimulate further studies on the relationship between OCD and stroke risk,” he said.
The findings were published online May 27 in the journal Stroke.