The most important part of human anatomy is the brain. It is so important that 20 percent of our overall oxygen intake and 20 percent of blood circulating within our body are directed to the brain. It is encased inside 7 millimeters of bone known as the human skull to maximize protection from injury.
Being the central hub of nearly every process that happens in our body, it is no surprise our body doesn’t want even a dent on our brain, however, the body cannot protect itself against itself.
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The Problem of Stroke
Cerebrovascular accidents known as strokes are primarily caused by hypertension and thickened arteries. Such conditions increases the risk of having blockages and hemorrhages inside brain tissue. Depriving the brain of oxygen and blood, strokes cause a massive amount of brain injury. It is one of the most debilitating experiences a person can go through because it is often times preceded by cessation of body functions permanently.
According to cdc.gov stroke is the leading cause of long term disability, and stroke kills “almost 130,000 Americans each year.” The likeliness of a stroke increases with age, so it is essential for aging individuals to take preventive measures. A recent study by the University of Cambridge has found that stress management can lower the risk of stroke by as much as 24 percent.
Lower risk of stroke by rapidly dealing with stress
The researchers used data from a seven-year study of more 20,000 people. They recorded 452 strokes and 100,000 stressful events among the participants. They found that the participants capable of handling the stressful events more effectively and more rapidly had 24 percent lower risk of stroke.
Lead researcher, Paul Surtees, stated that the link between stress and stroke may be more complicated than it is being represented in the study, however, he added, the amount of anecdotal evidence from the 20,000 personal accounts suggest a link between stroke and the person’s capability to deal with stress.
Stress management leads to a healthier lifestyle
There is evidence strongly suggesting people capable of handling stress often lead healthy lifestyles with more physical activity, less alcohol drinking and less smoking. With obesity, alcohol consumption and smoking being the primary risk-factors for stroke other than age, this group of individuals may have been at a lower risk of stroke from the very start.
This means stress management may not be the direct cause of 24 percent lower risk of stroke. However, the fact that a person’s capability to manage stress is correlated to lower risk of stroke does not lessen its significance since after all, when it comes to health, we want to look at the entire picture not just one snap shot of it.
Changes that matter are done consistently for long periods of time. And the data shows stress management definitely helps not only in lowering stroke risk, but may provide other health benefits in the long run.
Relaxation is the best stress management technique
There are certain techniques to managing stress including the capability to determine eustress and distress. However, knowing how to relax in the face of stress is definitely the most straight-forward way to deal with stress. Relaxation, after all, is basically the release of stress. So if you are an individual over the age of 55, a smoker, obese, or consumes a lot of alcohol, learning how to relax may not only reduce your risk of stroke, but may lead to you living a healthier lifestyle.