We prospectively examined the association between alexithymia and risk of death over an average follow-up time of nearly 5.5 years in 42- to 60-year-old men (N = 2297) participating in the Kuopio Ischemic Heart Disease Risk Factor Study (KIHD). Alexithymia, impairment in identification, processing, and verbal expression of inner feelings, was assessed by the validated Toronto Alexithymia Scale (TAS) In age-adjusted survival analyses, men in the highest alexithymia quintile had a twofold greater risk of all-cause death (p
It has long been thought that anger is important in the development of essential hypertension. However, tests of this hypothesis have yielded conflicting findings. This study prospectively examined the relationship between anger expression style and incident hypertension in a population sample of middle-aged men.
Participants were 537 initially normotensive men from eastern Finland, who completed a medical examination and series of psychological questionnaires at baseline and at 4-year follow-up. Anger expression was assessed by Spielberger's Anger-out and Anger-in scales.
At follow-up, 104 men (19.4%) were hypertensive (blood pressure > or = 165 mm Hg systolic and/or 95 mm Hg diastolic). Age-adjusted logistic regression analyses revealed that each 1-point increase in Anger-out was associated with a 12% increase in risk of hypertension after 4 years of follow-up (p
To examine the diagnostic value of gastroscopy and upper abdominal ultrasound, which are frequently used as primary tests in dyspeptic patients in general practice. To test the influence of age for accuracy of both diagnostic methods.
Four health centres in Kuopio Province, Finland.
Four hundred unselected consecutive dyspeptic patients (91 less than 45 years of age) who consulted their general practitioners.
Sensitivity, specificity, positive and negative predictive values (PV), efficiency and usefulness index (UI) were calculated for upper abdominal ultrasound and for gastroscopy in detecting the causes of dyspepsia in primary care. Final diagnosis was determined after one year follow-up.
The sensitivity of upper abdominal ultrasound in detecting the cause of dyspepsia was 0.07, the specificity 0.91, PV+ 0.36, PV- 0.56, and UI -0.001. Ultrasound was not more efficient in older patients. Gastroscopy was the most efficient method with a sensitivity of 0.75, specificity 1.00, PV+ 0.99, PV- 0.83 and UI 0.56. The usefulness of gastroscopy was even better among patients over 45 years of age.
The usefulness of upper abdominal ultrasound is low regardless of patient's age. Gastroscopy is superior to upper abdominal ultrasound as a first line diagnostic method in diagnosing dyspepsia, especially among patients over 45 years of age.
Comment In: Scand J Prim Health Care. 1998 Mar;16(1):63-49612882
To study barriers in following nutritional advice among coronary heart disease patients in relation to dietary fat intake.
A cross-sectional study using 4-day food records and a questionnaire with regard to barriers to or difficulties in following dietary advice.
Altogether, 362 male subjects with coronary heart disease from two separate patient populations (91 + 271) were included in the study, with the mean age of 50 years and 60 years, respectively. The patients were classified into low ( 30 E%) fat intake groups. The patients with low dietary fat intake obtained on an average 10 E% less energy from fat as compared to the high dietary fat intake group.
Overall, most patients with coronary heart disease reported difficulties in following nutritional advice when eating in social situations. Patients with high dietary fat intake reported more frequently than patients with low fat intake that they eat like other people without thinking about what they eat. On the other hand, there were no differences between the high and low fat intake groups in the barriers: eating at work, food price, shopping, taste or knowledge of nutrition.
Our results suggest that the sensitivity to social influence is an important factor explaining noncompliance with dietary advice among patients with high dietary fat intake.
Cynical hostility has been associated with increased cardiovascular morbidity and mortality; yet few studies have investigated this relation in population-based samples, and little is known about underlying mechanisms. This study examined the association between hostility, measured by the eight-item Cynical Distrust Scale, and risk for all-cause and cardiovascular mortality and incident myocardial infarction. Subjects were 2,125 men, ages 42-60 years, from the Kuopio Ischemic Heart Disease Risk Factor Study, a longitudinal study of unestablished and traditional risk factors for ischemic heart disease, mortality, and other outcomes. There were 177 deaths (73 cardiovascular) in 9 years of follow-up. Men with hostility scores in the top quartile were at more than twice the risk of all-cause mortality (relative hazards (RH) 2.30, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.47-3.59) and cardiovascular mortality (RH 2.70, 95% CI 1.27-5.76), relative to men with scores in the lowest quartile. Among 1,599 men without previous myocardial infarction or angina, high scorers also had an increased risk of myocardial infarction (RH 2.18, 95% CI 1.01-4.70). Biologic and socioeconomic risk factors, social support, and prevalent diseases had minimal impact on these associations, whereas adjustments for the behavioral risk factors of smoking, alcohol consumption, physical activity, and body mass index substantially weakened the relations. Simultaneous risk factor adjustment eliminated the observed associations. Results show that high levels of hostility are associated with increased risk of all-cause and cause-specific mortality and incident myocardial infarction and that these effects are mediated primarily through behavioral risk factors.
The aim of this study was to clarify the associations between sense of coherence (SOC), dispositional optimism and distress (i.e., anxiety and depression) in cancer patients and their partners.
The associations between SOC, dispositional optimism (Life Orientation Test-Revised, LOT-R), depression (Beck Depression Inventory-14, BDI-14) and anxiety (Endler Multidimensional Anxiety Scales, EMAS-State) were studied in 147 cancer couples. The data were collected with self-report questionnaires at the time of diagnosis (2 months) and after 6 months. Path analysis was used to analyse the predictors of follow-up distress and crossover effects in the longitudinal data.
Optimistic patients and patients with strong SOC as well as their partners reported fewer symptoms of depression and anxiety than less optimistic subjects and subjects with weaker SOC. Optimism partially explained the effect of SOC on distress and SOC seemed to be an independent factor in predicting distress. Patient and partner distress at baseline and at 8-month follow-up correlated positively. In addition, high partner optimism at baseline seemed to predict low patient anxiety at follow-up.
The beneficial effects of SOC seem to include also other elements beyond optimism. In clinical practice, enhancing optimistic expectations of the future and promoting SOC could be expected to reduce distress in cancer patients and their partners.
Social characteristics of alexithymic individuals were examined in a population-based study of 2,682 middle-aged men from Eastern Finland. Alexithymia, referring to difficulties in identifying and verbally describing inner feelings, was assessed using the Toronto Alexithymia Scale (TAS). Men whose high TAS score suggested reduced ability in verbal emotional expression were more often unmarried and had low levels of social contacts and acquaintances. Education, income, and occupational status were inversely related to the TAS score. These associations remained statistically significant after adjustment for confounding factors. The results suggest that alexithymia could be viewed not only as a psychological phenomenon, but also partly as a socially determined one.