Bickering and a health heart

By HSC Staff Writer • Published: July 6th, 2006
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

Married couples who exchange mean and nasty comments during an argument might be hurting more than just each other’s feelings. Serious verbal squabbles could increase their risk of heart disease.

A recent study has revealed that some types of arguing can cause atherosclerosis (ath-ah-ro-skla-ROR-siss), otherwise known as the hardening of the coronary arteries.

During the study, one-hundred-fifty married couples were given a sensitive subject such as money, in-laws and household chores to discuss for six minutes. Discussions were videotaped, reviewed and rated for the level of hostility. Two days later, participants were given a C-T scan to look for deposits in the arteries.

For the women, hostility was their number one enemy. Wives who made hostile remarks had twice the level of clogged arteries as wives who calmly discussed touchy topics. Results were even worse for wives with husbands who retaliated with harsh comments.

For the men, control issues had the most negative impact. Husbands who made domineering statements or whose wives were dominating had one-and-a-half times more clogs than men who were not in controlling marriages.

Even after the dust settles, the effects of marital spats on the heart may linger on. When participants in another study were asked to reflect on a past argument, their blood pressure would begin to rise and remained high.

So when it comes to matters of the heart, warm and effective communication is not only important for a better relationship… it also might help keep the ol’ ticker in tiptop shape.