Anger and long term psychological stress can increase the risk of heart disease in people with borderline high blood pressure.
Men and women who are anger-prone and suffer from chronic stress have a higher risk of developing heart disease. But those with prehypertension (borderline high BP) may get more influenced by these factors. It has been seen that stress and anger contribute to heart disease by causing sustained nervous-system activation. Prehypertension is a risk factor for full-blown high blood pressure. Normal blood pressure is anything under 120/80 - the upper (systolic) and lower (diastolic) blood pressure readings; prehypertension is defined as a systolic blood pressure of 120 to 139, or a diastolic pressure of 80 to 89.
To assess the impact of psychological factors on the progression of heart disease, researchers at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston studied 2,334 subjects between the age group of 45 to 64 who were initially free of heart problems but had prehypertension. These people were made to fill standard questionnaires about chronic psychological stress and levels of anger and hostility.
The results showed that chronic stress seemed to drive up the risk of progressing to heart disease in both men as well as women. These people were 68 percent more likely to develop coronary heart disease than men and women who reported low or moderate stress levels. It was found that among men, those who scored high on the anger measure were 71 percent more likely than their more mellow peers to develop high blood pressure i.e., 140/90 or more - over the next four to eight years. Similarly, their risk of heart disease was nearly two-fold higher.
Although, it isnít clear whether learning stress management and anger control can ward off heart disease, but they can definitely help in preventing it.
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