Angry People Die Younger

The highest levels of cholesterol were found among those measuring highest both in hostility and driven Type A behavior.

It looks as if nice guys may end up on top after all, according to a study of 350 individuals in their thirties conducted by the Oregon Health Sciences University.  The highest levels of cholesterol—particularly the dangerous kind, known as low density lipoprotein (LDL)—were found among those measuring highest both in hostility (defined by researchers as “a cynical, untrusting attitude toward others”) and driven Type A behavior.

What turns bad vibes into bad news for the heart?  Researcher Gerdi Weidner, Ph.D., speculates that a mistrustful person spends much of his time and energy worrying that others are out to get him.  Add this anxiety to a Type A personality and the result is a nervous system in constant overdrive.  “Increased sympathetic nervous-system arousal has been associated with the release of free fatty acids, which in turn has been linked with elevated cholesterol,” Weidner says.  One obvious solution toward maintaining good health and good relationships: Love thy neighbor.