Aggressive People Run Prone to Heart Attacks and Stroke

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A personality that is kind and tolerant can not just add to your outlook, it also gives you the health advantage of not running as big of risk for heart attack and stroke. According to the findings of a new research, aggressive and angry people face a greater risk for heart attack and stroke.

Researchers with the National Institute on Aging (NIA) examined 5,614 residents of four villages in Sardinia, an Italian Mediterranean island. People who classed themselves as aggressive on a standard personality test were more likely to suffer from thickening of the neck arteries than those who classified themselves as kind and accommodating.

Aggressiveness thickens arteries and risks heart attack

Among those examined, people who were the most antagonistic 10 percent had about a 40-percent higher risk for thicker arteries. Thickening of the arteries is a risk factor for heart attack and stroke, note the authors of the study which appeared in Hypertension: Journal of the American Heart Association.

“People who tend to be competitive and more willing to fight for their own self interests have thicker arterial walls, which is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease," said Sutin. "Agreeable people tend to be trusting, straightforward and show concern for others, while people who score high on antagonism tend to be distrustful, skeptical and at the extreme cynical, manipulative, self-centered, arrogant and quick to express anger."

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They also found that an antagonistic personality predicted increased thickening over approximately three years of follow-up.

"Antagonistic individuals, especially those who are manipulative and aggressive, have greater increases in arterial thickening, independent of traditional cardiovascular risk factors," Sutin wrote.

Redford Williams, MD, of Duke University, who was not involved with the study, commented that the findings highlight the largely unappreciated role of psychological factors in cardiovascular disease risk.

"Psychological and social factors are just as strong, as this study clearly documented, in putting people at higher risk of heart disease and other health problems," he said in an interview.

The authors concluded in the American Heart Association journal Hypertension that the effect on the artery walls was similar to having metabolic syndrome which is a risk a risk factor for heart attack and stroke.

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