Agreeable arteries

Anger is not a good emotion for your heart. Many studies have linked long-term anger as part of a personality to increased risk of heart attack. Now a new study has shown exactly what aspects of an antagonistic personality are harming your heart and precisely how they are doing it.

The study looked at more than 5600 people aged between fourteen and 94 with an average age of 42. At the start of the study the participants completed a standard personality test. People were judged as “agreeable” if they showed qualities of trust, straightforwardness, altruism, compliance, modesty and tender mindedness. By contrast, “antagonistic” people were those who showed distrust, scepticism, self-centredness, arrogance, cynicism, manipulation, and quick anger.

The participants also underwent testing for heart disease risk factors such as high blood pressure, cholesterol levels, triglycerides, fasting glucose levels, and arterial thickness. This last was measured using the carotid artery in the neck.

The results showed that showed that people who scored low on agreeableness (especially on straightforwardness and compliance) had thicker artery walls at both the beginning and end of the study (three years later).

In fact, those who scored in the lowest ten per cent for agreeableness were 40 per cent more likely than anyone else to show an increase in artery wall thickness over the course of the study.

Interestingly, although some thickening of arteries is linked to ageing, even the young people in the study who scored high on antagonism showed thickening of the arteries as well.

There you have it folks, young or old, a little straightforwardness and trust does wonders for your arteries and helps keep them thin and supple. In light of the recent election campaign that has been run in Australia, one wonders how the blood manages to squeeze its way through the arteries of some politicians.

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The WellBeing Team

The WellBeing Team

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