Anger, hostility and heart disease

By HSC Staff Writer • Published: May 7th, 2007
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

For people at risk of heart disease, eating low-fat foods and exercising regularly may already be part of a daily routine. Now researchers are issuing another heart warning for women only, which may prompt them to think twice before losing their temper.

According to a study performed exclusively on women, those who already face a heightened risk for heart disease may become more vulnerable to problems by acting angry or hostile. Although anger alone doesn’t necessarily worsen disease symptoms, it can be predictive of heart problems when combined with other risk factors like older age or a history of diabetes.

Researchers from the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences published the findings in a recent issue of The Journal of Women’s Health. Results revealed that anger toward other people appears to be the most dangerous type of hostility for women. These women may face the same problems as men who also have a higher chance for disease, thanks to similar emotional factors like hostility.

Still, the news isn’t all bad for women. The study also revealed that a few factors thought to affect cardiac health may not play a role after all.

Researchers conducting the study tested factors like cynicism, suppressed anger and aggression. But overt anger was found to be the only predictor of heart problems for women who already have a higher risk for cardiac disease.

So next time you find yourself getting steamed, do your heart a favor: Take a deep breath and count to ten.