Hostility, Heart Disease Linked


Tuesday, May 16th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6


CHICAGO (AP) — Young adults who scored high on a test of their hostility levels were 2.5 times more likely to have signs of heart disease 10 years later than those who were rated average or below, a study found.

The study was published in Wednesday's Journal of the American Medical Association.

Researchers studied 374 people — a nearly equal mix of men and women, blacks and whites — who were 18 to 30 in 1985. They were given a 50-question test that asked them to respond to true or false statements such as ``I have at times had to be rough with people who were rude to me'' and ``No one cares much what happens to you.''

Ten years later, they underwent a heart scan to measure calcium deposits in the arteries, which are an indicator of heart disease.

Seventeen percent of those who scored above average on the hostility test showed calcification, compared with 9 percent in the below-average group.

Researchers put the risk at 2.5 times higher for the high-hostility group after adjusting for the other factors.

The study was led by Dr. Carlos Iribarren of the Kaiser Permanente Medical Care Program of Oakland, Calif.

He said one reason for the difference could be that hostile people release more stress hormones that raise blood pressure and can lead to heart disease.

He said the next step is to find out if lowering someone's hostility level will stem the progression of heart disease.

Earlier this month, a study published in Circulation, the journal of the American Heart Association, found that people who are highly anger-prone are nearly three times more likely to have a heart attack.

That link held true even after risk factors such as smoking and obesity were taken into account.