In an eight-year American study of 670 men aged 45 to 86, researchers found that longstanding anger and hostility sped up age-related lung decline. In other words, it caused the men’s lung function to deteriorate faster than it normally would.
The researchers accounted for other factors such as smoking and education that are factors in lung health. Researchers found that anger and hostility alter neurological and hormonal processes, which may negatively impact the body’s immune system and create excessive levels of inflammation.
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The men’s lung function at the start of the study varied according to their initial levels of hostility.
It was significantly poorer among those men deemed to exhibit high levels of anger and hostility compared with those who exhibited medium to low levels.
But it was also worse at each examination throughout the period of study.
Although the impact was lessened, the association held true even after taking account of factors likely to influence the findings, such as smoking and educational attainment.