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Anxious men face earlier decline in cardiometabolic health

Journal of the American Heart Association
Reuters Health - 10/02/2022 - Men who tend to be anxious appear to be at higher risk for developing cardiometabolic disease in their younger years, researchers report.

"By middle adulthood, higher anxiety levels are associated with stable differences in CMR (cardiometabolic risk) that are maintained into older ages," they write in the Journal of the American Heart Association. "Anxious individuals may experience deteriorations in cardiometabolic health earlier in life and remain on a stable trajectory of heightened risk into older ages."

For their study, Dr. Lewina O. Lee of the Veterans Affairs Boston Healthcare System and her colleagues analyzed data on 1,561 men who were part of an ongoing cohort established in 1975 at one medical facility. At baseline, healthy men (mean age, 53) completed the Eysenck Personality Inventory-Short Form neuroticism scale and a Worries Scale, and seven of their CMR biomarkers were checked and scored every three to five years through 2015: systolic and diastolic blood pressures, fasting total cholesterol, fasting triglycerides, BMI, fasting blood sugar, and erythrocyte sedimentation rate.

The group's CMR scores increased by 0.8 markers per decade between age 33 and 65 years. At that point, when they averaged 3.8 high-risk markers, the increase slowed to 0.5 markers per decade.

Higher neuroticism (B=0.08) and worry levels (B=0.07) were significantly associated with higher CMR over time. Those with higher neuroticism and worry levels had 13% and 10% greater risks, respectively, of having six or more high-risk CMR markers, after adjustments for potential confounders.

"Anxiety may affect cardiometabolic health earlier in the life course than previously thought," the authors write. "Efforts to prevent cardiometabolic disease have typically targeted screening and lifestyle modifications among middle-aged and older adults; however, findings from this and other studies increasingly suggest that assessment of cardiometabolic and psychological risk factors beginning much earlier in life may be impactful."

"Such work may provide a better understanding of disease pathogenesis and development of primordial interventions to improve population health," they add.

Dr. Lee did not reply to requests for comment by press time.

SOURCE: https://bit.ly/335JXeC Journal of the American Heart Association, online January 24, 2022.

By Reuters Staff

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