OCD associated with 3X higher stroke risk, study finds

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Adults with obsessive-compulsive disorder are three times more likely to have a stroke caused by a blood clot, or ischemic stroke, compared to those without the disorder, according to a study published May 26 in Stroke

Using a national insurance database in Taiwan, researchers identified 28,064 people aged 20 or older who had OCD, and a matched control group without OCD. The data were collected between 2001-10. 

Overall, people with OCD had a 3.02 times higher risk of having an ischemic stroke during an 11-year follow-up period, compared to people who didn't have OCD. The risk was highest among middle-aged adults, who had a 2.66 times higher stroke risk and older adults, who were 3.46 times more likely to have a stroke. 

The disorder was not associated with an increased risk of having a hemorrhagic stroke, which is when a ruptured blood vessel leads to bleeding inside the brain. OCD medications were not tied to an increased risk of either stroke type, according to the findings. 

"The results of our study should encourage people with OCD to maintain a healthy lifestyle, such as quitting or not smoking, getting regular physical activity and managing a healthy weight to avoid stroke-related risk factors," said Ya-Mei Bai, MD, PhD. 

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