Chrome 2001
Aetna Intelihealth InteliHealth Aetna Intelihealth Aetna Intelihealth
. .
Chrome 2001
Chrome 2001
Health News Health News
Spats, Conflicts Can Raise a Woman's Blood Pressure
June 06, 2014


FRIDAY, June 6, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- It goes without saying that being aggravated, criticized, annoyed or disappointed by friends or family members can be stressful.

But new research suggests that negative social interactions may actually harm the health of middle-aged women by triggering a long-term jump in blood pressure.

However, the dynamic was not seen among men or among women aged 65 and older in the study.

Study author Rodlescia Sneed, a doctoral candidate in psychology at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, said the conclusion that negative social interactions seem to affect some women but not men "is consistent with previous research showing that women are more sensitive to the quality of their relationships than men are."

But why not older women?

"The literature suggests that as people get older, they hone their social networks in order to focus on the relationships that are most important," Sneed said, limiting their exposure to just a few close friendships, while avoiding negative people and situations.

"They [also] generally don't have employment-related stress, are done raising their children and, if in good health, can spend their time engaged in activities that they enjoy," she added. "This may not be true for younger people."

The findings are published in the June issue of Health Psychology.

To explore this issue, the research team analyzed four years of blood pressure data collected from more than 1,500 men and women between the ages of 51 and 91, all of whom were enrolled in the Health and Retirement Study.

The vast majority (nearly 85 percent) of the participants were white, and none had high blood pressure when the study began in 2006. However, by the study's end in 2010, nearly 30 percent did.

In the interim, all the participants completed questionnaires regarding the degree to which they had experienced unpleasant and disappointing interactions with their partners, children, friends or other family members.

Respondents were asked how often people made too many demands on them; how often they were criticized; how often they were let down, and how often people got on their nerves.

After "scoring" the totality of each participant's negative interactions with the people in their life, the study authors stacked the tallies up against blood pressure trends.

The result: For every one-point rise in negative socializing scores, women between the ages of 51 and 64 saw their risk for developing high blood pressure jump by 38 percent.

Having a negative interaction with a spouse or a child did not, however, seem to have any impact on blood pressure. As well, no such affect was seen among any of the male counterparts or among older women.

While noting that her investigation did not include people under 51, Sneed theorized that younger adults might also prove vulnerable to the impact of negative relationships.

"The mid-30s, for example, can be difficult with respect to work stress, raising children and financial problems," she said. "Adding poor relationships to those difficulties can certainly increase one's risk for health problems."

Dr. Gregg Fonarow, a professor of cardiology at the University of California, Los Angeles, said the study shines a light on how relationships can have an enduring impact on blood pressure.

"Prior studies have suggested that negative social interactions can elevate blood pressure in the short term," he noted. "[But] this new study links negative social interactions to the development of overt hypertension, suggesting a more long-term alternation in blood pressure control."

That said, Fonarow stressed that "further studies are needed to confirm these findings and better understand the mechanism behind this link."

More information

Visit the U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute for more on high blood pressure.
Copyright © 2014 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

SOURCES: Rodlescia Sneed, doctoral candidate in psychology, department of psychology, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh; Gregg Fonarow, M.D., professor, cardiology, University of California, Los Angeles; June 2014, Health Psychology...

More News
InteliHealth .
General Health News
Today's News
Today In Health History
This Week In Health
Addiction News
Allergy News
Alzheimer's News
Arthritis News
Asthma News
Babies News
Breast Cancer News
Bronchitis News
Cancer News
Cervical Cancer News
Children's Health News
Cholesterol News
Dental/Oral Health News
Depression News
Diabetes News
Ear, Nose And Throat News
Environmental Health News
Eye News
Fitness News
Genetics News
Headache News
Health Policy News
Heart Attack News
Heart Failure News
Heart Health News
Infectious Diseases News
Influenza News
Lung Cancer News
Medication News
Men's Health News
Mental Health News
Multiple Sclerosis News
Nutrition News
Parkinson's News
Pregnancy News
Prostate Cancer News
Senior Health News
Sexual/Reproductive Health News
Sexual dysfunction
Sleep News
STDs News
Stroke News
Tobacco Cessation News
Weight Management News
Women's Health News
    Print Printer-friendly format    
This website is certified by Health On the Net Foundation. Click to verify.