Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Still Mulling Over Last Night's Argument? It Could Affect Your Heart

Date:
September 26, 2002
Source:
University Of California - Irvine
Summary:
Which has the greatest effect on your heart's health: arguing with a spouse or running a marathon? Arguing could have closer links to later heart disease, but for an unusual reason. Just thinking about the fight appears to lead to high blood pressure and later health problems, according to a UC Irvine-led study.

Irvine, Calif. -- Which has the greatest effect on your heart's health: arguing with a spouse or running a marathon? Arguing could have closer links to later heart disease, but for an unusual reason. Just thinking about the fight appears to lead to high blood pressure and later health problems, according to a UC Irvine-led study.

Both tasks raise blood pressure and cause some stress on the body, but arguments have an emotional side that creates longer recovery times in the body than non-emotional -- yet stressful -- events like running. The study appears in the Sept./Oct. issue of Psychosomatic Medicine.

Laura Glynn, UCI assistant professor of psychiatry, and her colleagues at UC San Diego and Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York found that when asked to remember tasks associated with emotionally driven rises in blood pressure, students' blood pressure rose and stayed high. Thinking back to physical tasks did not have the same effect.

"Exposure to emotional stress may be of greater potential harm to cardiovascular health than stresses that lack emotion, even though both types of stress may have provoked the same initial responses," Glynn said. "Preventing the damaging effects of stress may involve not only reducing exposure to stressors, but also reducing opportunities to ruminate over past stress."

Glynn and her team tested 72 students at UC San Diego. Those who were asked to either count backwards while being interrupted or avoid an electric shock had higher systolic blood pressures (the upper number) by about 16 mm of mercury when asked to remember the tasks. By comparison, students who were told to walk in place or put their hands in freezing water had no increase in blood pressure when asked to remember the event. The blood pressures of students taking part in the first two emotional tasks took much longer to recover to normal levels.

In addition, another group of students who were left alone after an emotional task tended to ruminate over the task and have higher blood pressure than students who were distracted from thinking about the task. While the difficulty of the task played no role in determining later blood pressures, those who experienced fear and nervousness during the test were able to clearly recall those emotions and re-create their cardiovascular response.

Chronic stress is considered an important factor in elevation of blood pressure, which is considered a major cause of heart disease. While many researchers have looked at the role played by relentless chronic stress, such as a demanding job or unstable home life, relatively few studies have focused on the lingering effects of even a single, emotion-laden stressful event.

High blood pressure affects at least 20 percent of all Americans. Chronically high blood pressure, a condition known as hypertension, can lead to heart attacks, atherosclerosis, strokes and kidney failure.

"Our study indicates that certain people may be at increased risk for developing heart disease, based at least partly on how they respond to stress," Glynn said. "Developing ways to intervene with rumination behavior and encouraging social support for these individuals may help prevent emotional stress from contributing to heart disease later."

Glynn and her colleagues have been studying how stress may lead to a number of disorders, including premature birth, neurological disorders and cardiovascular disease.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of California - Irvine. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of California - Irvine. "Still Mulling Over Last Night's Argument? It Could Affect Your Heart." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 26 September 2002. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/09/020926070006.htm>.
University Of California - Irvine. (2002, September 26). Still Mulling Over Last Night's Argument? It Could Affect Your Heart. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/09/020926070006.htm
University Of California - Irvine. "Still Mulling Over Last Night's Argument? It Could Affect Your Heart." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/09/020926070006.htm (accessed August 22, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Friday, August 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Drug Used To Treat 'Ebola's Cousin' Shows Promise

Drug Used To Treat 'Ebola's Cousin' Shows Promise

Newsy (Aug. 21, 2014) An experimental drug used to treat Marburg virus in rhesus monkeys could give new insight into a similar treatment for Ebola. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Cadavers, a Teen, and a Medical School Dream

Cadavers, a Teen, and a Medical School Dream

AP (Aug. 21, 2014) Contains graphic content. He's only 17. But Johntrell Bowles has wanted to be a doctor from a young age, despite the odds against him. He was recently the youngest participant in a cadaver program at the Indiana University NW medical school. (Aug. 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
American Ebola Patients Released: What Cured Them?

American Ebola Patients Released: What Cured Them?

Newsy (Aug. 21, 2014) It's unclear whether the American Ebola patients' recoveries can be attributed to an experimental drug or early detection and good medical care. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Lost Brain Cells To Blame For Sleep Problems Among Seniors

Lost Brain Cells To Blame For Sleep Problems Among Seniors

Newsy (Aug. 21, 2014) According to a new study, elderly people might have trouble sleeping because of the loss of a certain group of neurons in the brain. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins