- NEW YORK(Reuters Health)
-- Researchers have found more evidence that hostility can contribute to
heart disease, according to a report in the current issue of the journal
- Dr. Raymond Niaura of Brown University School of Medicine
in Providence, Rhode Island, and colleagues found that hostility may be
linked to the metabolic syndrome -- a set of risk factors associated with
heart disease, including obesity, blood pressure, and insulin resistance.
Insulin resistance occurs when the body becomes less responsive to the
hormone insulin, and may be a precursor of diabetes.
- ``It has not really been clear how hostility plays itself
out in terms of physiological risk,'' said Niaura in an interview with
Reuters Health. ``We're seeing how all these things interconnect for the
- The researchers studied over 1,000 men aged 44 to 92
who participated in the Normative Aging Study between 1987 and 1991. When
measured on the Cook-Hedley Hostility Scale, the participants with higher
hostility scores were more likely to also be overweight, have abdominal
and upper body obesity, and have insulin resistance -- all risk factors
for heart disease.
- ``I'm not sure you could say that if you scored a certain
number on the hostility scale, you'd be two or three times more likely
to develop cardiovascular disease,'' said Niaura. ''Ultimately, we'll look
at how it all plays out in terms of disease.''
- Since 98% of the initial sample were older white men,
the researchers suggest that it is not known if its findings are applicable
to women, younger men or men of different races.
- ``If people have the metabolic risk factors, they really
need to see their doctor,'' advised Niaura.
- The study also found more evidence that men with fewer
years of education were more likely to be hostile. The finding suggests
``that hostility may be part of the cognitive/emotional/behavioral response
to the chronic stress of low socioeconomic status,'' said Niaura in a statement.
- More research is needed to take socioeconomic factors
into account, and to look for the biological connection between hostility,
obesity and heart risk, he said. SOURCE: Psychosomatic Medicine 2000;62:7-16.