Having a stroke is very stressful. Stress can cause the heart rate to increase, the heart to pump harder, blood sugar levels to increase, and fats in the blood to rise.
Continual or frequent stress places more demand on the heart and increases the risk of developing plaque (atherosclerosis). Stress often leads some people to make unhealthy lifestyle choices, such as smoking, drinking too much alcohol, eating high fat “comfort” foods, or “vegging out” in front of the television.
If you feel you are having trouble handling the stress in your life, speak with your social worker, psychologist, or other member of your stroke rehabilitation team. These professionals may be able to help you find ways to better cope with your stress.