Do you find it difficult to express negative feelings? Do you often suppress your anger, pretending that you don’t feel upset? If so, you may want to let out your true feelings next time, as the latest study suggests that self-silencing might make you more vulnerable to a stroke.
About the study
In the study, the researchers studied 304 nonsmoking women who had gone through or were going through menopause to see whether self-silencing was associated with having plaques in carotid arteries, which can lead to stroke and other heart problems.
The researchers found that women who felt less able to talk about their needs or feelings in their relationships had a 14% higher risk of having plaques. And women with no observable plaques turned out to be more able to express themselves in their relationships.
About the results
Although the study didn’t prove a cause-and-effect relationship, the findings showed that greater self-silencing was associated with plaques, which could potentially lead to heart attack, stroke and other heart problems.
"Given increased public health interest in women's experiences in intimate relationships, our results suggest that women's socio-emotional expression may be relevant to their cardiovascular health," said Karen Jakubowski, Ph.D., lead author of the study.
"Studies like this one are valuable as they highlight the importance of understanding how a woman's emotional disposition can affect her physical health," said Dr. Stephanie Faubion, NAMS medical director.
So, it is essential for women to know the importance of expressing their feelings and needs in their intimate relationships, learn to let out their true feelings, and thus protect their heart health in midlife.
The study also brings healthcare providers new thoughts, as the results encourage healthcare providers to take into consideration socio-emotional factors when setting up a preventive care plan for their patients.