(HealthDay News) — Middle-aged men who are anxious and worry have increased cardiometabolic risk (CMR), which is maintained into older ages, according to a study published online in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

Lewina O. Lee, PhD, from the VA Boston Healthcare System, and colleagues examined the prospective association of 2 anxiety facets — neuroticism and worry — with CMR trajectories over 4 decades in a sample of 1561 men. The participants (mean age, 53 years) completed the Eysenck Personality Inventory-Short Form neuroticism scale and a Worries Scale in 1975. Every 3 to 5 years, 7 CMR biomarkers were assessed. The CMR score was the number of biomarkers classified as high risk.

The researchers found that from age 33 to 65 years, CMR increased at 0.8 markers per decade; at 65 years, men had 3.8 high-risk markers on average, followed by a slower increase of 0.5 markers per decade thereafter. Across time, higher neuroticism and worry levels were associated with elevated CMR. After adjustment for potential confounders, the risks for having 6 or more high-risk CMR markers were increased 13 and 10%, respectively, for higher levels of neuroticism and worry.

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“Our findings indicate higher levels of anxiousness or worry among men are linked to biological processes that may give rise to heart disease and metabolic conditions, and these associations may be present much earlier in life than is commonly appreciated — potentially during childhood or young adulthood,” Lee said in a statement.

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