Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh found a connection between worry and strokes.
The group led by Maya Lambiase followed 6,000 people for about three decades starting in the mid-70s. They ranged in age from 25 to 74.
Lambiase’s team asked the participants a series of questions and then tested them to determine their levels of anxiety and related depression. From that point on, researchers tracked the rates of stroke for the group.
Once they factored out other known causes of strokes such as smoking, they found a direct correlation between worry and susceptibility to stroke. Even moderate worry increased stroke risk.
In their study, those ranked in the top third in terms of worry had a 30% higher chance of having a stroke compared to those with the least amount of worry.
Commenting on their study, Lambiase said, “Everyone has some anxiety now and then. But when it’s elevated and/or chronic, it may have an effect on your vasculature [heart system] down the road.”
Further complicating the issue, is that people who worry also tend to smoke — another significant contributor to strokes.
Bible and worry
We worry about many things — our health, finances, future, children — the list seems endless. Jesus makes an interesting statement about worry, He says:
And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life? (Matthew 6:27 NASV)
Jesus says worry can’t increase our life span, in fact if the above study is right it has the potential to subtract years. Worrying about our health, a significant problem in ancient times, will not make us better.
Even today, we all know of someone who has had cancer or heart problems. Is that worry lurking in your heart?
Throughout the day, I often find myself thinking of issues that I have little or no control over. I am not sure why I do it, because worrying about these problems will not change the situation, but meanwhile worry has a profound impact on my health.
Worry is your master
In Proverbs 12:25 we read:
Anxiety in a man’s heart weighs it down,
But a good word makes it glad.
The Hebrew word “weigh” is interesting it means to lie down, to be forced to the ground. In Isaiah 51:23, we read how tormenters forced the Israelites to lie flat on their face [same Hebrew word] so the tormenters could walk on their backs. It was a sign of complete domination.
“I will put it into the hand of your tormentors,
Who have said to you, ‘Lie down that we may walk over you.’
You have even made your back like the ground
And like the street for those who walk over it.”
When you worry, you become the doormat for your torment. Worry is your master.
Solution to worry
The Apostle Paul gives a very simple solution to worry:
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. (Philippians 4:6 NASV)
We need to verbally –out loud — commit our situation to God. Having done that, don’t take it back.
Dealing with worry is ultimately an act of self-control — controlling our thoughts — where we choose to believe God instead of worrying about the problem.