Skip to content

    Hypertension/High Blood Pressure Health Center

    Font Size

    Could Impatience Be Raising Your Blood Pressure?

    Study Finds Hostility, Impatience Increase Hypertension Risk

    Impatience and hostility -- two hallmarks of the "type A" behavior pattern -- increase young adults' long-term risk of developing high blood pressure, according to a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

    Researchers also found that as impatience and hostility increased, so did the risk of high blood pressure. However, other psychological and social factors, such as competitiveness, depression, and anxiety did not increase hypertension risk.

    Recommended Related to Hypertension

    Understanding High Blood Pressure -- Symptoms

    In the vast majority of cases, there are no clear symptoms of high blood pressure (also known as hypertension), which can lead to heart disease, stroke, kidney failure and eye problems if untreated. The only way to find out if you have high blood pressure is to get your blood pressure checked on a regular basis. This is especially important if you have a close relative who has high blood pressure. If your blood pressure is extremely high, there may be certain symptoms to look out for, including: ...

    Read the Understanding High Blood Pressure -- Symptoms article > >

    The research was conducted by scientists at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, the University of Pittsburgh, the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and the Birmingham Veterans Affairs Medical Center.

    This was the first prospective study to examine, as a group, the effects of key type A behaviors, depression, and anxiety on the long-term risk for high blood pressure. Earlier studies had mostly looked at individual psychological and social behaviors and found conflicting results.

    High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is a major risk factor for heart disease, kidney disease, and congestive heart failure, and is the chief risk factor for stroke. Normal blood pressure is a systolic (top number) of less than 120 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg) and a diastolic (bottom number) of less than 80 mm Hg; high blood pressure is a systolic of 140 mm Hg or higher, or a diastolic of 90 mm Hg or higher. Numbers in between are referred to as "pre-hypertension" and are associated with an intermediate risk of complications related to high blood pressure.

    About 50 million Americans -- one in four adults -- have high blood pressure and prevalence increases sharply with age: The condition affects about 3% of those ages 18-24 and about 70% of those 75 and older.

    "Although high blood pressure is less common among young adults, young adulthood and early middle age is a critical period for the development of hypertension and other risk factors for heart disease," said lead author Dr. Lijing L. Yan, Research Assistant Professor of Preventive Medicine at Northwestern University. "Previous research on young adults is limited, and our study helps to fill that gap."

    Today on WebMD

    blood pressure
    Symptoms, causes, and more.
    Learn the causes.
    Compressed heart
    5 habits to change.
    Mature man floating in pool, goggles on head
    Exercises that help.
    heart healthy living
    Erectile Dysfunction Slideshow
    Bernstein Hypertension Affects Cardiac Risk
    Compressed heart
    Heart Disease Overview Slideshow
    thumbnail for lowering choloesterol slideshow
    Heart Foods Slideshow
    Low Blood Pressure

    WebMD Special Sections