Control Negative Emotions and Stay Young at Heart
Are You Young at Heart
Have you ever astonished at an elder person’s energy and ability to squeeze maximum out of life? Perhaps the answer lies in your vascular age! Did you know that your vascular age can be different from your chronological age? As the 17th century English physician Thomas Sydenham said, “A man is as old as his arteries”, your arteries reveal the actual age of your heart and fitness quotient. The vascular age tells you how old your arteries are after an enduring and steady beating of your heart – 70 times a minute or about 100,000 heartbeats a day, which account for wear and tear of your vessels. There are seven risk factors – smoking, diabetes, stress, eating, lifestyle and exercise, blood pressure and cholesterol – which determines the age of your heart.
A wall street journal report states that a 42-year-old man who smokes and has total cholesterol of 180, good cholesterol (HDL) of 45 and systolic blood pressure of 125, has a vascular age of a 54-year-old. If he quits smoking, his vascular age could drop to 42, his chronological age. Similarly, a 52-year-old non-smoking woman, who has a total cholesterol of 220, HDL of 44 and systolic blood pressure of 135, has a vascular age of a 68-year-old. If the woman reduces her cholesterol level below 200, her vascular age could drop to 59.
Even if your weight is under control and you look healthy, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, smoking, sedentary living and stress can accelerate vascular age. But the good news is that it’s possible to turn back the clock when your blood vessels grow old before you do. Lifestyle changes and medication can help bring them in line. Several tools enable doctors and patients to calculate vascular age. Tests like Carotid Intimal - Medical Thickness (CarotidIMT) and CTAngio suggest the difference between your chronological age and your vascular age.
Coronary arteries that supply blood to the heart are actually elastic, but they become stiff as you grow. Also, the Intima, a thin soft membrane in the blood vessels gets fat accumulated over the years. So aging of the heart is inevitable but a septuagenarian teetotaler, who exercises regularly and controls diet, can be more active than a 35-year-old who smokes, has diabetes and high blood pressure.
Negative Emotions and Heart Disease
People who exercise, practice meditation and yoga, and cut down the negative emotions can reverse the changes in their arteries. Try to surround yourself with good friends, laughter and avoid toxic people and workplaces from your life. A healthy heart is about happy people, those who’re optimistic and friendly will have healthier heart and less chances of a heart disease. A study in the Psychosomatic Medicine has found that people who’re physically healthy but prone to anger have higher levels of C-reactive protein, a substance linked to increased risk of heart disease. Negativity weakens our hearts. A negative thought makes your heart beat faster and the vessels of heart become smaller. Negativity increases the activity of the sympathetic nervous system, which gears the heart into the fight-the-danger mode. Whenever you’re angry, jealous or competitive, the blood going to the heart decreases when it should increase. Type A personalities, who’re competitive and jealous, are known to have heart problems because they’re always in the defense mode.
Emotional turbulences and stress lead to hormonal fluctuations and may precipitate a heart problem, particularly in a vulnerable person who already is exposed to other risk factors like diabetes, bad cholesterol, high BP, smoking, lack of exercise etc. An emotionally rough patch, a breakdown of a marriage or any other kind of relationship or loss, can cause precipitate plaque rupture and lead to angina or heart attack. Type A people, who’re over ambitious, perfectionists and always want to outperform, have more heart problems. It’s a proven fact that Type A people may not have higher chance of heart attacks but if they have heart attacks there are higher chances of death.
A bad marriage, an angry spouse, exposure to murder or an ugly street fight – all increase the risk of heart disease. According to a study, Psychology Today reports, it’s not only stress but also work-related monotony and boredom – often referred to as burnout – that puts us at risk. Emotional stress and heart disease are extremely correlated. Chronic stress and events with certain emotional themes can kick off an inflammatory process that leads people to both mental depression and cardiovascular disease.
Conclusion: Staying young at heart means staying out of negative thoughts. Apart form doing regular workouts and exercise, maintaining good food habits, quitting smoking etc. all you should do to control your negative emotions is practicing meditation and yoga. Stress management and anger management courses are of great help too! And above all one should remember that success is not always about creation of wealth and rising in position and so forth! The sign of success is a lasting smile, confidence in life and a sense of belongingness with everyone around.