THE PHILOSOPHY OF HEART ATTACKS

A recent article (dated tomorrow!) in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology says that anxiety increases the risk of heart attack in men.

Anxiety may increase the risk of acute myocardial infarction (AMI) in men by up to 40%, even after controlling for risk factors such as age, education, marital status, fasting glucose levels, body mass index, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels, and systolic blood pressure in proportional hazards models, report University of Southern California researchers and quoted by Bloomberg News. An analysis of data on 735 men enrolled in the Normative Aging Study and followed for a mean of 12 years showed that the relationships between anxiety and AMI risk remained significant even after further adjustments for health behaviors (drinking, smoking, and caloric intake), hypertension medications, high cholesterol, diabetes during follow-up, and psychologic variables including depression, type A behavior, hostility, anger, and negative emotions.

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(pic credit: http://www.revolutionhealth.com)

Ha, I knew this all along! All this about reducing smoking, calories, and drink, and what do you have? Another dead duck. We never stop to think that we are not immortal. Unless you unwind, your heart is constantly going to be under the pressure that adrenaline (and its sibling hormones) creates. End result: an MI.

When do men actually unwind? The answer (though not from any reference I could quote) is after their first heart attack.

So, does living longer mean one should curb one’s ambition and prepare to live a life of limited achievements and stress? I think stress is harmful only if it is not welcome. If you feel stress of the kind that causes tension, anxiety and panic, it is bad for you. On the other hand, if you enjoy the challenges of life without losing out on the fun it offers, you would probably live longer and better.

I am, however, not aware of any properly conducted study that compares the longevity of people exposed to healthy versus unhealthy stress.

I have another theory, which will surely be proven in a Level One trial in the next decade in The Lancet: the worst, cold-blooded scoundrels on earth die the last, and long after the departure of those they have tormented all life. Those who cause anxiety probably live longer than those who take it. Conscience causes coronary constriction, if you can forgive this alliterative dose of alleged wisdom!
(Note that the above is merely my hypothesis.)

In case you are not an absolute monster, enjoying life’s challenges rather than merely following the herd and mindlessly aspiring for material goals, is likely to lengthen and enliven your life. It also follows that if you are a pessimistic, inward-looking man you would die earlier than one with a sunny, carefree disposition. When was the last time you smiled, dude?

18 responses to “THE PHILOSOPHY OF HEART ATTACKS

  1. I think you’re right in your hypothesis! :-).

  2. Physicians should prescribe subscribing patients to your Weekly Humorous newsfeeds.

  3. Those who cause anxiety probably live longer than those who take it.

    You mean to say A Twist of Word and Mind would continue long after the readers are worm-food? Oh God.

  4. I love this post of yours rdoc! it raises several questions, about good and bad stress and also about bad people living longer. I have thought of this several times in my mind but never read anything about it. I’ll tell you my own theory. I feel that it’s the ability to relax which is important. And of course i also feel that those who do things they don’t like also suffer a high amount of stress. even though the person is not ambitious as such. if a person has little control over what he/she is doing, more stress it causes, even if the job as such is not stressful.
    also about evil people living longer, well, I don’t know. I feel their bodies turn on themselves and they could get diseases like cancer. I think happy people live long and unhappy live shortest, but this last I have read.

  5. im smiling now πŸ™‚

    great post !

  6. Boo!
    Sorry, just trying to prolong _my_ life at your expense πŸ™‚
    Yes, it does seem the good die young, and grouches, who leave smoke and chaos in their paths, seem to live forever. But I don’t know if it’s true; maybe it is just our sadness/remembrance when we observe this phenomena in good people who die too young.

    Comedy does prolong life! Or at least make it more tolerable.

    So, why did you include a female photo instead of uploading a youtube clip of your RLS/twitching, whatever? πŸ™‚

    Great post

  7. “So, why did you include a female photo instead of uploading a youtube clip of your RLS*/twitching, whatever?”
    *Restless Leg Syndrome
    Jackie:
    I did, but You Tube said my legs are so sexy that the clip classified as porn. Rejected, not for the first time, for being too sexy!
    Prax, Wishtobeanon, and Priyank:
    πŸ™‚
    Maha-Lakshmi: what a dreadful thought! It is surely not possible, as I am innocent as a baby’s kiss.
    Nita: You loved THIS post, rather than the limericks?!
    Ha, you are just being kind, but thanks. You really believe evil people get cancer or gangrene (“tere mooh mein keeday paday!” kind of phenomenon)?? The bastards live forever, I tell you!
    πŸ˜€

  8. //When do men actually unwind? The answer (though not from any reference I could quote) is after their first heart attack.

    Agreed! I know at least three people, who are all very busy cardiologists- and have started reducing their work load and other worries after their first heart attack! And that too, after they have a family history of heart attacks.

    //the worst, cold-blooded scoundrels on earth die the last

    Haha! πŸ™‚ Know about that too. A family member, is a “cold blooded scoundrel”. He’s 88 and very healthy. My dad’s only 51 and has lots of diseases, because of him.

  9. now im really freaked out! whoa..what’s that pain in my left arm?!

  10. Now do you agree // too much commercialisation and competition // is bad πŸ™‚ Let the world make money while we debate the silliness of it all and live longer ( I am reffering to Rambodoc’s comment on my post).
    I smile when I read your funny posts πŸ™‚

  11. πŸ™‚ ruhi i fully agree on the scoundrel part

  12. Very interesting and as I was remembering people in my circle with heart afflictions, I can’t but agree with your conclusions including the one about cold blooded scoundrels living longer.

  13. This is a very interesting post on Anxiety attack! This website has helped me a lot on axiety attacks and it’s very useful. They have many great tips to guide to. Do check it out at http://www.attackanxiety.org

  14. RDoc:

    Except for subjects self-reporting the effect – positive or negative on their motivation/ energy/ mental state etc – of the two, is there a meaningful way to measure the somatic differences between distress and eustress? If not, that may partly explain why there are no studies differentiating between the two. As far as I know, medical practitioners rarely use the term ‘distress’ although they always use ‘stress’ in a synonymic sense.

    Further I do think that is saying “..All this about reducing smoking, calories, and drink,..” you ignore the fact that the vast majority will benefit from improvements in these areas. They are all contributory factors (else why would these factors be used as controls in this study?) but it appears you suggest that somehow stress is causal.

    I also think men are not disproportionately affected by stress; it is just that societal conditioning makes it harder for them to use – at least use frequently – de-stressing outlets commonly used by women such as chatting with friends, aimless shopping (although in London, I am seeing more men indulging in this sport now) or crying.

    Your post did remind me of my own short post about a friend telling me off for my sunny disposition and for always smiling. :-B

    PS: Yes, I take your medical papers related posts seriously but if laughter were the best medicine, you would not have a day job πŸ˜‰ Think about it, They could all laugh themselves better, no, than go under your scalpel?

  15. Shefaly:
    What I meant to convey was that stress is an independent risk factor what kills people even when the other known factors are taken care of. Of course, they are also important.
    As far as objective measures of the body’s response to good and bad stress is concerned, I reckon there should be different biochemical markers for each. I don’t think anyone today knows exactly which ones go up in bad times and which in good times.
    Thanks for the comments.

  16. R-Doc: Thanks for the clarification. I am going to Cambridge regularly now and will bring this up with some of the people I know who may be able to answer this question. Thanks.

  17. Ah, Just what a gal in her mid twenties needs on a sober Wednesday morning: legporn and heartaches!

    Nice post Docster.

    Jackie, you get camera? I’ll bring the Pom Grenade Juice!

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