More Strokes Happen on Monday Than Any Other Day of the Week

Few people look forward to Mondays, which usually marks the end of a relaxing weekend and the launch of the frenzied workweek. But there is more to the classic dread of Mondays than just the usual sluggishness and inertia associated with getting back into the ‘grind’. A number of scientific analyses have revealed that the most common day of the week for a stroke to happen is on a Monday.

Why Mondays?

For some, Mondays bring severe stress in the form of anxiety about traffic, uneasy feelings regarding hostile coworkers or bosses and job insecurity, which is the fear of getting fired or laid off.

These feelings can produce a release of the body’s fight or flight hormones, making it more likely to have a stroke on Mondays than any other day of the week.

Stroke triggers are events that tend to occur prior to stroke, and they are believed to play a role in precipitating a stroke. Extreme stress, a surgical procedure and even the strain of hiding an extramarital relationship can induce a ‘fight or flight’ survival response, which is characterized by a rush of stress hormones such as epinephrine and cortisol. This alters heart function, breathing, blood pressure, immune function and metabolism.

Sometimes, the body can't tolerate the physiological consequences of stress that are produced by these hormones. The physiological effects include hypertension, excessive glucose levels that mimic a diabetic crisis, blurred vision, jitteriness and possibly even an irregular heartbeat or a heart attack.

For people who are already predisposed to stroke because of risk factors, these episodes of extreme stress can trigger a stroke.

The arrival of Monday is one of the stroke triggers.

Work Related Stress

A recent Japanese research experiment found that stroke is more likely to occur on Mondays and least likely to occur on Sundays.

This observation was consistent among all adult age groups. Another, earlier research study, this one in Finland, asked the same question but stratified the groups by socioeconomic status. Interestingly, those from a lower socioeconomic status were more likely to exhibit a Monday stroke tendency than those from a higher socioeconomic status. This may be explained because the CEO or ‘the boss’ often experiences less work stress and more job security than lower paid workers who fear losing jobs without a financial buffer to offset a jobless earning gap.

What Can You do About Monday Strokes?

Aside from becoming a high-powered CEO with a huge savings, there are some realistic steps you can take to decrease your risk of stroke and help ease Monday anxiety.

First of all, there is no evidence suggesting that Monday strokes just happen out of the blue. Most strokes - any day of the week - are preceded by a buildup of years of stroke risk factors and warnings signs or stroke premonitions such as TIAs.

Learn the signs of strokes and TIAs and pay heed to these important warning signs. Learn what the stroke risk factors are and avoid them- this can be achieved​ regardless of your socioeconomic status.

As far as stress, there are ways to reduce your stress level. And as far as your work insecurity- there is no doubt that job loss and lack of a solid financial buffer are scary. However, proactively anticipating and planning for problems is a more effective approach to work-related stress than ruminating or worrying. Keep in mind that strokes decline over the course of the week- suggesting that much of the Monday anxiety is often settled as the workweek continues. Keeping that important fact in mind may be the most effective way to avoid the Monday stress that can lead to strokes.

Reducing your stroke risk is one of the most​ effective approaches to prolonging your life.

Sources

Day of the week and ischemic stroke: is it Monday high or Sunday low?, Jakovljević D, Stroke, September 2004

Weekly variations of stroke occurrence: an observational cohort study based on the Kyoto Stroke Registry, Japan, Shigematsu K, Watanabe Y, Nakano H; Kyoto Stroke Registry Committee, BNritish Medical Journal, March 2015

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