Hostility and Depression, a Recipe for Cardiovascular Disease

February 12, 2008 | Byron J. Richards, Board Certified Clinical Nutritionist

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 Hostility and Depression, a Recipe for Cardiovascular Disease
Some people have a hostile approach to solving problems. Other people feel depressed in regards to life. Either situation is pro-inflammatory – leading researchers to investigate the relationship to heart disease. As it turns out, the combination of hostility with depression is far worse than either issue alone, as it is reflective of more advanced circulatory wear and tear.

Hostility is a fairly common emotion and is always pro-inflammatory, like taking a brillo pad around the circulatory system. Like any form of stress, a person must recover and bounce back at which point that form of stress is not health deteriorating per se. However, once a person struggles with energy to the point of depression then the ability to recover from hostility is compromised and heart disease risk increases.

Researchers at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis1 measured levels of important heart disease inflammatory markers, IL6 (interleukin-6) and CRP (C-reactive protein), in healthy men and women aged 50-70. They found much higher levels of these markers in those who were experiencing both depression and hostility, indicating ongoing wear and tear in the circulatory system that is certain to be tilting health in the direction of heart disease. This is a unique study because it clearly links types of stress to future disease risk.

Nutrition that supports energy production and nerve relaxation are essential pieces as part of an overall stress management program that can keep a person above the wear and tear that common stressors may cause. Other important stress management tools include lifestyle modification, coping skills, refreshing exercise, and adequate sleep.

While any person can understand that emotional loss produces a broken heart. Now it is clear that hostility along with a depression causes a fiery-smoldering heart. Stress is one more variable that must be examined as part of the healthy heart equation. Some stress is fine, too much is not.

Referenced Studies

  1. ^ Hostility Combined with Depression Pose Cardio Risk  Psychosomatic Medicine  Stewart JC, Janicki-Deverts D, Muldoon MF, Kamarck TW.

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