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BACKGROUND: Anxiety might be a potentially modifiable risk factor of cardiovascular diseases (CVDs). Evidence relating anxiety symptoms and generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) to CVDs from prospective cohort study was still lacking in China. METHODS: Participants aged 30 to 79 years old from 10 areas across China were recruited during 2004-2008 and were followed up until 2017. 487,209 participants without CVDs at baseline remained for analyses. Anxiety symptoms (panic attacks and continuous anxiety) during the past 12 months were identified in a face-to-face interview. Participants with continuous anxiety were further assessed for GAD using Composite International Diagnostic Interview-Short Form. The primary outcomes were incident CVD, ischaemic heart disease (IHD), haemorrhagic stroke (HS), and ischaemic stroke (IS). RESULTS: During 4.7 million person-years of follow-up, we documented 140,365 incident cases of CVD. For panic attacks, the multivariable-adjusted HRs (95 % CI) were 1.08 (1.04-1.13), 1.10 (1.02-1.19), 1.20 (1.05-1.38) and 1.20 (1.11-1.30) for CVD, IHD, HS and IS, respectively. Continuous anxiety was positively associated with incident CVD and IHD, and the corresponding HRs were 1.12 (1.04-1.20) and 1.21 (1.07-1.37). LIMITATIONS: Anxiety symptoms were examined according to self-reported questionnaires, which could constitute key study limitations. CONCLUSIONS: Among the Chinese adults, those with anxiety symptoms or GAD might be important at-risk population of CVD.

Original publication




Journal article


J Affect Disord

Publication Date



Anxiety, Cardiovascular diseases, Cohort study, Panic