Los Angeles, Oct. 22: Do you honk your horn the minute the light turns green' Fume when someone’s late or a meeting runs over' Stress out if caught in a checkout line' You may want to have your blood pressure checked.
A large study that followed more than 3,300 young adults for 15 years found that those who were impatient or hostile faced a higher long-term risk of developing high blood pressure, independent of other risk factors. And the more impatient and hostile they were, the study found, the greater the risk.
The study, by Lijing L. Yan at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine, with colleagues from Pittsburgh and Alabama, is published in this week’s Journal of the American Medical Association.
It attempts to tease out the unhealthy effects of psychosocial factors associated with the so-called Type A personality, and it is apparently the first to pinpoint impatience as an independent risk factor for high blood pressure, Yan said.
“Our study is new and needs to be confirmed, but if time urgency/impatience is confirmed as a risk factor for hypertension, patients should be screened for it by their primary care physicians,” said Yan, research assistant professor in preventive medicine at the Feinberg School, in Evanston, Illinois. “Individuals themselves should also try to be aware of the tendency or behaviour patterns they have.”
The study used participant data from the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults study. It looked at 3,308 black and white men and women from four cities, between 18-30 years old when recruited in 1985-1986 and who were followed through 2000-01. During the 15-year period, 15 per cent of the total sample developed high blood pressure.
But those who scored highest on the impatience scale had 1.8 times the chance of developing high blood pressure as those who scored zero on the scale. The observation held for both races and sexes, Yan said.
But Samuel Mann, a hypertension expert with New York-Presbyterian Hospital Weill Cornell Centre, was sceptical. He said his findings are that people who express their hostility are less likely to develop hypertension. “It’s the person who’s been through hell and comes in smiling who develops high blood pressure,” he said.