Worry increases a man’s heart disease risks, even when young

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Worry increases a man’s heart disease risks, even when young

Healio reports, “Higher levels of anxiety were linked to increases in cardiometabolic risk biomarkers over time in men researchers reported in the Journal of the American Heart Association.”

The researchers analyzed data from 1,561 men who participated in the Normative Aging Study.

In 1975, the men were free from cardiovascular disease or cancer and completed assessments of neuroticism and worry.”

HealthDay reports, “Men who reported higher levels of anxiety had a 10% to 13% greater chance of reaching high biological risk for heart disease, stroke, or diabetes during the 40-year follow-up period.”

After their baseline assessment, the men had physical exams and blood tests every 3-5 years until they either died or dropped out of the study.

The research team used follow-up data through 2015.

During follow-up visits, seven cardiometabolic risk factors were measured:

  • systolic (top number) blood pressure;
  • diastolic (bottom number) blood pressure;
  • total cholesterol;
  • triglycerides;
  • obesity (assessed by body mass index);
  • fasting blood sugar levels; and
  • the erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR), a marker of inflammation.

We’ve known that stress, anxiety, and worry can take a toll on mental health, but this new research suggests that when men, even young men, fret too much, they face a higher risk for developing diabetes, heart disease, or stroke down the road.

In fact, this increase in risk is on par with the health risks linked to heavy drinking, the findings showed.

“Our findings suggest that anxiety is linked to unhealthy biological processes that pave the way to developing heart disease and diabetes in men,” said study author Lewina Lee.

HealthDay adds, “The study wasn’t designed to say how worry and anxiety increase risks for disease, but worriers were more likely to smoke, consume alcohol, and not exercise regularly.”

The findings were published in the Journal of the American Heart Association.



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