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Could Impatience Be Raising Your Blood Pressure?

Study Finds Hostility, Impatience Increase Hypertension Risk continued...

Time urgency/impatience was rated on a scale from zero to 3-4. After 15 years, participants with the highest score of 3-4 had an 84% greater risk of developing high blood pressure and those with the second highest score of 2 had a 47% greater risk, compared with those with the lowest score of zero.

Hostility was rated on a score of 0 to 50 and then categorized into quartiles. After 15 years, those in the highest quartile had an 84% higher risk of high blood pressure and those in the second highest quartile had a 38% higher risk, compared with those in the lowest quartile.

No significant relationship was found for the other factors.

Results were similar for blacks and whites and were not affected by age, gender, education, or blood pressure at the time of enrollment. They also held regardless of the presence of such established high blood pressure risk factors as overweight/obesity, alcohol consumption, and physical inactivity.

The researchers state that the rise in blood pressure due to psychological and social factors may be caused by a complex set of mechanisms and is not well understood. For instance, they note that stress could activate the sympathetic nervous system, causing a series of heart and blood vessel repercussions, including narrowing of the blood vessels and an increase in blood pressure.

"This long-term study has given us much-needed information about the effects of psychological and social factors," said Dr. Catherine Loria, CARDIA Project Officer at the NHLBI. "But more research must be done on this topic, especially considering the widespread prevalence of high blood pressure in the U.S. and the fast pace of our lives."

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WebMD Medical Reference from MedicineNet

Reviewed by James Beckerman, MD, FACC on October 31, 2013

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