Anxiety and the Risk of Stroke The Rotterdam Study

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Background and Purpose It is unclear whether anxiety is a risk factor for stroke. We assessed the association between anxiety and the risk of incident stroke. Methods This population-based cohort study was based on 2 rounds of the Rotterdam Study. Each round was taken separately as baseline. In 1993 to 1995, anxiety symptoms were measured using the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale-Anxiety (HADS-A). In 2002 to 2004, anxiety disorders were assessed using the Munich version of the Composite International Diagnostic Interview. Participants were followed up for incident stroke until January 2012. Results In the sample undergoing HADS-A (N=2625; mean age at baseline, 68.4 years), 332 strokes occurred during 32 720 years of follow-up. HADS-A score was not associated with the risk of stroke during complete follow-up (adjusted hazard ratio, 1.02; 95% confidence interval, 0.74-1.43; for HADS-A8 compared with HADS-A <8), although we did find an increased risk after a shorter follow-up of 3 years (adjusted hazard ratio, 2.68; 95% confidence interval, 1.33-5.41). In the sample undergoing the Munich version of the Composite International Diagnostic Interview (N=8662; mean age at baseline, 66.1 years), 340 strokes occurred during 48 703 years of follow-up. Participants with any anxiety disorder had no higher risk of stroke than participants without anxiety disorder (adjusted hazard ratio, 0.95; 95% confidence interval, 0.64-1.43). We also did not observe an increased risk of stroke for the different subtypes of anxiety. Conclusions Anxiety disorders were not associated with stroke in our general population study. Anxiety symptoms were only related to stroke in the short term, which needs further exploration.
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Pages (from-to)1120-1123
Number of pages4
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2016

Research programs

  • EMC COEUR-09
  • EMC NIHES-01-64-01
  • EMC NIHES-04-55-01
  • EMC ONWAR-01-58-02

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