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This is a threefold serious health risk for those who are obsessed – warns new study

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We tend to view obsessive-compulsive disorder as being related only to mental health. However, it seems that it triples the risk of an extremely serious pathological problem, says a new study.

Adults with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) were more than three times more likely to have an ischemic stroke later in life than those who did not have the disorder, according to new research published in Stroke.

The results of our study encourage OCD sufferers to maintain a healthy lifestyle, such as abstaining or quitting smoking, exercising more regularly and maintaining a healthy weight in order to avoid the risk factors associated with the stroke, as explained by the lead author of the study, Dr. Ya-Mei Bai, Professor in the Psychiatry Department of Taipei Veterans General Hospital and Taiwan Yang Ming Chiao Tung National University.

Obsessive-compulsive disorder is a common, sometimes debilitating mental health condition, characterized by annoying, unwanted thoughts, ideas, or sensations (obsessions) that make a person feel “compelled” to do something repetitively. Repetitive behaviors that characterize OCD, such as hand washing, checking things out, or constant cleaning, can greatly interfere with a person’s daily activities and social interactions. 

Previous research has found that OCD often occurs after a stroke or other brain injury. What remained unclear was whether the reverse was also true: could OCD increase the risk of stroke?

To find out, the researchers looked at health records from the 2001-2010 period from Taiwan’s health database to compare the risk of stroke between 28,064 adults with OCD and 28,064 healthy people. 

The mean age of diagnosis of the disorder was 37 years and women and men were represented almost equally in the data. The researchers compared the risk of stroke between the two groups for 11 years.

The analysis found that:

  • Adults with OCD were more than three times more likely to have a stroke from a blood clot than those who did not have the disorder. The greatest risk was for adults over 60 years old.
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder was an independent risk factor for ischemic stroke even after testing for other factors known to increase this risk, such as obesity, heart disease, smoking, high blood pressure, high blood pressure, and high blood pressure. type 2.
  • No difference was found in the risk of hemorrhagic stroke.
  • Medication for the treatment of OCD was not associated with an increased risk of stroke.

For many decades, studies have found a link between stroke initially and OCD later. Our findings remind doctors to closely monitor blood pressure and lipid profile, which are known to be associated with stroke in patients with OCD. However, more research is needed to understand how OCD-related mental processes may increase the risk of ischemic stroke.

Bai said.

Finally, it should be noted that among the limitations of the study was the fact that only stroke patients seeking medical attention were included, so some cases may have been ignored. 

Also, information on the severity of the disease, family medical history, or environmental influences was not included. 

In addition, the study was observational, so it can only show a correlation between obsessive-compulsive disorder, without proving a cause-and-effect relationship.

Image Credit: Getty

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