THURSDAY, Sept. 6, 2018 (HealthDay News) — Psychological distress is associated with myocardial infarction (MI) and stroke in men and women, according to a study published online Aug. 28 in Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes.

Caroline A. Jackson, Ph.D., from the University of Edinburgh in the United Kingdom, and colleagues examined whether psychological distress is associated with risk of MI and stroke in 221,667 participants without prior stroke/MI from the New South Wales 45 and Up population-based prospective study.

The researchers found that with increasing psychological distress level, there was an increase in absolute risk of MI and stroke. For men aged 45 to 79 years, there was a 30 percent increased risk of MI for high/very high versus low psychological distress; weaker estimates were seen in those aged ≥80 years. For women, there was an 18 percent increased risk of MI for high/very high psychological distress, with similar risk across age groups. For participants aged 45 to 79 years, high/very high psychological distress and male sex had a supra-additive effect on MI risk. The estimates were similar for stroke; the risk was increased 24 and 44 percent in men and women, respectively, with high/very high psychological distress, and there was no evidence of an interaction for age or sex.

“Psychological distress has a strong, dose-dependent, positive association with MI and stroke in men and women, despite adjustment for a wide range of confounders,” the authors write.

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