Anger and hostility aren’t the same, although they often conjure
up one familiar, unpleasant image. Picture the face of the
accidentally cut off on the freeway - very angry, very hostile.
While anger is a feeling or emotion, hostility is actually
a character and personality trait involving anger, cynicism,
mistrust of others, and overt and repressed aggression.
Hostility (and anger) do little to contribute to health and
wellness, but increasing evidence suggests that the opposite
mechanism may take effect. Case in point comes from a study
in the May 17, 2000 issue of the Journal of the American
Medical Association. Hostility questionnaires administered
to 374 men and women (18-30 years old at baseline) provided
data on hostility (over a five-year period), and CT scans
taken at year 10 examinations assessed the presence of detectable
coronary artery calcification - heart disease.
Subjects with above-average hostility scores had more than
two times the risk of coronary artery damage compared to less
hostile subjects, and five-year changes in hostility were
also related with incidence of the disease. The authors conclude
that “…a high hostility level may predispose young adults
to coronary artery calcification.”
So don’t get mad, get healthy! Your doctor can tell you more
about the risk factors for heart disease and help you maintain
a healthy lifestyle.
Iribarren C, Sidney S, Bild DE, et al. Association of hostility
with coronary artery calcification in young adults. Journal
of the American Medical Association, May 17, 2000: Vol.
283, No. 19, pp2546-51.