Skip 
Navigation Link

1215 South Walnut Ave.
Demopolis, AL 36732 mapmap

Access to Care: 1-800-239-2901

Aging & Geriatrics
Resources
Basic InformationLatest News
Can Air Pollution Take a Toll on Your Memory?Almost Half of Older Americans Fear Dementia, Try Untested Ways to Fight ItPeople Who Can't Read Face 2-3 Times Higher Dementia RiskEducation a Buffer Against Alzheimer's Among Blacks: StudyNumber of Americans With Dementia Will Double by 2040: ReportDon't Forget These Tips to Boost Your MemoryFamily Can Help Keep Delirium at Bay After SurgeryYour Personality as a Teen May Predict Your Risk of DementiaStandard Memory Tests for Seniors Might Differ by GenderAHA News: Growing – and Aging – Hispanic Population at Risk for DementiaGive Seniors a Memory Check at Annual Checkups, Experts SayFor People at High Risk, Evidence That Exercise Might Slow Alzheimer'sGetting Hitched Might Lower Your Odds for DementiaMany Older Americans Aren't Equipped to Weather Hurricanes Like DorianHow You Can Help Head Off Alzheimer's DiseaseWho's Most Likely to Scam a Senior? The Answer May Surprise YouAHA News: Time With Grandkids Could Boost Health – Even LifespanIs Your Forgetfulness Reason for Concern?Too Much Napping May Signal Alzheimer'sAt Risk for Alzheimer's? Exercise Might Help Keep It at BayHealthy Living Can Cut Odds for Alzheimer's in People at Genetic RiskEducation, Intelligence Might Protect Your BrainFor Some, Trouble Tracking Finances Could Be Sign of DementiaHuhn? Scientists Working on Hearing Aid That Solves the 'Cocktail Party' ProblemAnger a Threat to Health in Old AgeHealth Tip: Improving Your MemoryFinancial Scammers Often Prey on People With Early DementiaGum Disease Shows Possible Links to Alzheimer'sRate of U.S. Deaths Tied to Dementia Has More Than DoubledToo Few Seniors Are Getting Their Memory TestedMedical Pot: An Elixir for the Elderly?Are Hearing Loss, Mental Decline Related?Frailty a Risk Factor for DementiaHearing Aid Upkeep Often Out of Reach for the PoorHome-Based Care Teams Offer Help for Those With Dementia
Questions and AnswersVideosLinksBook ReviewsSelf-Help Groups
Related Topics

Depression: Depression & Related Conditions
Elder Care

Anger a Threat to Health in Old Age

HealthDay News
by -- Robert Preidt
Updated: May 9th 2019

new article illustration

THURSDAY, May 9, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- The loss of loved ones can hit the elderly particularly hard, but a new study suggests it's anger, and not sadness, that may damage the aging body more.

Anger can increase inflammation, which is linked with conditions such as heart disease, cancer and arthritis, the researchers said.

"As most people age, they simply cannot do the activities they once did, or they may experience the loss of a spouse or a decline in their physical mobility and they can become angry," explained lead author Meaghan Barlow, of Concordia University in Montreal.

"Our study showed that anger can lead to the development of chronic illnesses, whereas sadness did not," she added.

For the study, the investigators looked at 226 adults, aged 59 to 93, in Montreal, who completed questionnaires about how angry or sad they felt. The participants were also asked if they had any chronic illnesses, and blood samples were collected from them to measure inflammation.

According to study co-author Carsten Wrosch, of Concordia University, the findings showed that "experiencing anger daily was related to higher levels of inflammation and chronic illness for people 80 years old and older, but not for younger seniors."

However, sadness was "not related to inflammation or chronic illness," Wrosch added in an American Psychological Association news release.

Barlow suggested that sadness may help older seniors adjust to challenges such as physical and mental declines because it can help them disengage from doing things that are no longer possible.

So, she explained, negative emotions -- including anger -- aren't always bad and can be beneficial under certain circumstances.

"Anger is an energizing emotion that can help motivate people to pursue life goals," Barlow said.

"Younger seniors may be able to use that anger as fuel to overcome life's challenges and emerging age-related losses, and that can keep them healthier. Anger becomes problematic for adults once they reach 80 years old, however, because that is when many experience irreversible losses and some of life's pleasures fall out of reach," she added.

Education and therapy may help older adults keep anger in check by regulating their emotions or by providing them with strategies to manage aging-related physical and mental changes, the study authors noted.

"If we better understand which negative emotions are harmful, not harmful or even beneficial to older people, we can teach them how to cope with loss in a healthy way," Barlow said. "This may help them let go of their anger."

The findings were published May 9 in the journal Psychology and Aging.

More information

HealthinAging.org offers wellness and prevention resources.