Worry and anxiety linked to higher heart risk in men: Harvard study
Middle-aged men who often feel worried or anxious may be more prone to problems that raise heart disease risk as they age compared with their less-worried peers, a new study finds.
Begun in 1975, the study included 1,561 men without heart disease whose average age was 53. All the men completed tests to assess their levels of worry and neuroticism, a personality trait associated with feelings of fear, sadness, and anger.
Every three to five years, researchers collected data to assess the men’s risk of cardiometabolic disease (which includes heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes) until the men died or dropped out.
The measurements included blood pressure, cholesterol, triglycerides, blood sugar, body mass index, and a blood marker of inflammation.
Over an average follow-up of nearly 23 years, researchers found that having higher levels of worry or neuroticism was linked to a 10% to 13% higher risk of having six or more risk factors for heart disease, stroke, or type 2 diabetes.
The study was published in the February 2022 issue of the Journal of the American Heart Association.