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Self-silencing May Lead To Increased Risk of Stroke

Expressing your true feelings is not only good for your mental health, but it could also be important for your physical health. A new study associates self-silencing (inhibiting one’s self-expression) with greater carotid plaque buildup which could lead to a stroke and other cardiovascular problems.

Individuals engage in a range of behaviors to maintain close relationships, some of which may be costly to their own health. One such behavior is self-silencing, which is sometimes used to avoid conflict or relationship loss.

Although self-silencing has been linked to worse mental and self-reported physical health in women, it has not been previously examined in relation to women’s cardiovascular health.

In this new study of 304 premenopausal and postmenopausal nonsmoking women, researchers tested whether self-silencing was associated with carotid atherosclerosis. They found that greater self-silencing was related to increased odds of plaque independent of socio-demographics, cardiovascular disease  risk factors, and depression.

The results were based on women’s self-reporting on a range of factors such as how often they expressed anger or put someone else’s needs before their own.

Provided by The North American Menopause Society

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