Study links negative emotions, heart disease

Sharing emotions, whether during regular days or special occasions like Valentine’s Day, is often viewed as necessary and healthy. As any Chicago disability attorney knows, emotions can impact physical health, and internalizing emotions is often considered harmful. However, new research suggests expressing negative emotions and thoughts through social media may have adverse health effects.

Negativity and heart health

The study, which was published in Psychological Science, analyzed Tweets from over 1,300 American counties. Researchers analyzed the language in the Tweets to determine the type of emotion the Tweets expressed. Tweets indicating enthusiasm and optimism were considered positive. Tweets with expletives and words such as “hate” were labeled negative.

Researchers then compared the emotions expressed in local Tweets to each county’s risk of heart disease. The researchers found that the risk of death from heart disease was lower in communities with more Tweets expressing positive emotions. The same risk was higher in counties with more negative Tweets.

The finding is not so surprising, since research shows depression, stress and anxiety are risk factors for serious heart health problems. Negative feelings can also produce behaviors that raise the risk of heart disease, such as drinking or eating unhealthily. Research even suggests community psychology predicts the health of members better than individual behaviors. Thus, people in communities that express negativity regularly may face a greater risk of heart disease.

Living with heart disease

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, heart disease is prevalent in the U.S. The disease contributes to one-quarter of all fatalities, and 735,000 Americans suffer heart attacks annually. Even when heart disease isn’t deadly, it can be disabling. People who suffer significant impairments due to heart disease may be eligible for Social Security Disability benefits.

The Social Security Administration recognizes various heart conditions as disabling, as a Chicago disability attorney can confirm. In the “Blue Book” of impairments, the SSA outlines criteria each condition must meet to qualify for benefits. The following conditions are included in the book:

  • Coronary artery disease
  • Congestive heart disease
  • Chronic heart failure
  • Recurrent arrhythmia
  • Aneurysm
  • Heart transplant

People who cannot meet listing criteria may still receive SSD benefits, as any Chicago disability attorney knows. The SSA may determine that a person’s condition is equal in severity to one listed. The SSA may also award medical-vocational allowances to people who are no longer reasonably capable of gainful employment.

The SSA evaluates ability to work based on a person’s functional abilities, age, work experience and education. Thus, for people seeking allowances for heart disease, full documentation is crucial. Applicants should support their claims with extensive information about their educations and work history, in addition to medical evidence.