Worrying & Heart Disease
Feeling worried or anxious doesn’t just affect sleep and your mental health. According to a recent study, these emotions might also increase the risk of heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes, known collectively as cardiometabolic disease.
Researchers at Boston University School of Medicine analyzed data from more than 1,500 primarily white males who were middle aged in 1975. The men, none of whom had cardiovascular disease or cancer at the time, completed questionnaires about the amount of worry and neuroticism (a tendency to interpret situations as threatening, stressful, or overwhelming) they experienced. They also underwent physical exams every three to five years.
The researchers found that as the men got older, their risk of cardiometabolic disease increased, regardless of their anxiety levels. However, men with higher levels of anxiety and worry were consistently more likely to develop cardiometabolic disease over time, compared to their peers. In fact, higher levels of worry were associated with a 10 percent higher likelihood of having six or more cardiometabolic risk factors, such as obesity, high blood pressure, or high cholesterol.
“While we do not know whether treatment of anxiety and worry may lower one’s cardiometabolic risk, anxious and worry-prone individuals should pay greater attention to their cardiometabolic health,” say the researchers. They urge further study on this issue in women and people of color to see if they have similar risks. The findings were published online on January 24, 2022, in the Journal of the American Heart Association.
Try this tasty dish: Scallops With Kale Pesto & Feta
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