Antagonistic People Can Increase Heart Attack Risk

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Antagonistic ManThose who are antagonistic, especially who are competitive and aggressive, can increase the risk of heart attack or stroke, according to a research reports published in the Hypertension journal, recently published by the American Heart Association.

Researchers studied 5,614 Italian people in four villages and found that those with high figures for antagonist nature on a standard personality test has experienced greater thickening in the neck arteries (carotid) compared with a more pleasant person (friendly). Neck artery wall thickness is a risk factor for heart attack and stroke.

Three years later, those who are considered to have higher antagonistic properties – especially those who are manipulative and quick to express anger – still have a thickening of their artery walls. These properties are also expected to result in greater arterial thickening.

“People who tend to be competitive and more willing to fight for their self interest have thicker artery walls, which is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease,” said Angelina Sutin, Ph.D., lead author of the study. “Kinds people tend to be friendly, straight, and show concern for others, while people with high scores of antagonism tend to be suspicious, skeptical and extremely cynical, manipulative, selfish, arrogant, and quick to express anger,” said Sutin.

The research which is supported by National Institute on Aging involves participants ranged from 14-94 years old (average 42) and 58 percent are women. They answered a standard personality questionnaire, which covered six aspects of hospitality: trust, straightforwardness, altruism, obedience, modesty, and sensitivity of mind.

Researchers used ultrasound to determine the intima-media thickness of carotid arteries in the neck on five points. Participants also viewed the other risk factors for heart disease like high blood pressure, cholesterol, triglycerides, glucose, and diabetes.

In general, more men experience thickening of artery walls. Meanwhile, women who are antagonistic, said Sutin, tend to have thickening of the arteries that are similar to men antogonistis. Pleasant or friendly women have thinner arterial wall compared to men with nice properties.

Although the thickening of arterial walls is a sign of age, young people with antagonistic properties have thickening of arterial walls, she said.

According to Sutin, this research may help in anger management. “People can learn to control their anger and learn ways to express anger in a way that is more socially acceptable,” said Sutin.

The findings may apply to other people in the world, whether they live in small towns or cosmopolitan areas, she said. “This is probably not unique to Italy.”

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