Prone to sarcasm and hostility? According to a new study, it’s not so great for your heart — especially if you have a history of ill heart health.
The research, which was published in the European Journal of Cardiovascular Nursing, found that heart attack patients who are prone to sarcasm, irritability and cynicism could be putting their heart at risk, says Science Daily.
“Hostility is a personality trait that includes being sarcastic, cynical, resentful, impatient or irritable,” said study author Dr Tracey Vitori of the University of Tennessee. “It’s not just a one-off occurrence but characterises how a person interacts with people.
“We know that taking control of lifestyle habits improves the outlook for heart attack patients and our study suggests that improving hostile behaviours could also be a positive move.”
The research included 2,321 heart attack survivors and used hostility as the baseline for the Multiple Adjective Affect Checklist (MAACL) in order to find any possible link between your personality and heart health. The average age of participants was 67 years old, with 68% of these being male. 57% of these participants scored as “hostile” according to the MAACL.
After following participants’ health outcomes for 24 months, researchers found that hostility was an independent predictor of dying from a second heart attack, after taking factors like sex, age, education, high blood pressure, smoking and marital status into consideration.
“Hostile individuals have increased clotting times, higher adrenaline levels, above-normal cholesterol and triglyceride levels, and increased cardiac reactivity,” the study reads. “These known inflammatory factors may initiate cardiac events and increase poor clinical outcomes.”
According to Dr Vitori, hostility has actually been linked with heart health and cardiovascular disease since the 1950s but researchers still aren’t quite sure why that is.
“Our study shows that hostility is a common trait in heart attack survivors and is associated with poor outcomes,” said Dr Vitori. “More research is needed on how this characteristic affects the body.
“There is much cardiac patients can do to take control of their own health. From a physical side — smoking cessation, increase physical activity, and eat a balanced diet. Our study also indicates that managing hostile behaviours could be important.”
This isn’t to say that if you’re sarcastic and cyclical, you will automatically experience heart issues but the correlation between poor health and personality traits is indeed an interesting field of research. And, pretty illuminating when thinking of it in terms of self-development. The more you know, right?