Harvard: Angry people get older quicker, US scientists have found.
Researchers at the Harvard School of Public Heath monitored 650 men and discovered that those who are unable to control their temper showed signs of ageing sooner. It is thought that anger causes changes in the immune system causing deterioration.
The study is published in the current issue of the medical journal Thorax and measured the lung capacity of men over a period of years since 1986. It reveals a correlation between anger and a deterioration in lung capacity.
Dr Paul Lehrer, of the University of Medicine and Dentistry in New Jersey, said: ‘Increased chronic anger may have particularly harmful effects on the body.
‘It often reflects chronic personality maladjustment or, in some cases, chronic exposure to job or marital dissatisfaction which perpetuate anger.
‘Although the exact pathways whereby chronic anger contributes to chronic physical deterioration are not known, it is not hard to imagine how the wear and tear associated with chronic anger could produce physical deterioration.’
Hostility and anger have long been associated with health problems.
The flood of stress chemicals and metabolic-changes in the body that accompany feelings of anger can lead to high blood pressure, headaches, digestion problems and skin complaints such as eczema.
More serious conditions such as asthma, depression and heart disease and strokes can follow.
According to Dr Lehrer, anger and hostility alter neurological and hormonal processes, which in turn may disturb the immune system, producing chronic inflammation.
He added: ‘Indeed it is hard to find a disease for which emotion or stress plays absolutely no part in symptom severity, frequency, or intensity of flare-ups.’