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Prehypertension Can Worsen with Anger and Stress

Among middle-aged, risk is greater for progression to full-blown hypertension or heart disease

TUESDAY, Sept. 25 (HealthDay News) -- Prehypertensive individuals who have problems with anger or stress in middle-age are at greater risk of progressing to full-blown hypertension or heart disease as they age, according to a report in the September/October issue of the Annals of Family Medicine.

Marty S. Player, M.D., of the University of South Carolina in Charleston, and colleagues analyzed data collected in the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study on 2,334 prehypertensive men and women, aged 45 to 64, who were free of cardiovascular disease at enrollment. Participants answered questionnaires regarding their psychosocial status and were followed-up for four to eight years.

Men with high trait anger scores were found to have a 1.5 times greater chance of developing hypertension than those with low to moderate scores. High trait anger scores among men were also associated with a 90 percent greater likelihood of progression to incident coronary heart disease. An association between long-term psychological stress and risk of incident coronary heart disease was observed among both men and women.

"This study serves to further characterize individuals with prehypertension and adds to the growing evidence of the role of psychological factors in the development of cardiovascular disease," the authors conclude.

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