angry tigerHave you ever felt “burning mad,” or said, “Boy! That person really burns me up!”?

These sayings may be a little closer to reality than we think. Inflammation often manifests itself in a feeling of warmth as the body increases the flow of blood to an affected area. This is the body’s way of fighting off “intruders” that want to harm us from the inside. However, there can be downsides to this process, especially as it affects the brain.

Inflammation has been linked to many serious health concerns, such as cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, schizophrenia, and other assorted chronic illnesses. Inflammation itself can be brought on by many things, including diet, activity level, and your emotional state, or feelings. In a recent study published in Psychology and Aging, researchers found that, among subjects aged 80 and older, frequent feelings of anger are more likely to raise inflammation levels in the body than feeling sad. Studies show that as people reach their senior years, the loss of a spouse or other loved ones, reduced activity, and other age-related changes, can trigger feelings of anger and frustration. In one study, older adults who reported feeling angry on a daily basis were much more likely to develop chronic health problems than those who didn’t have so many angry moments.

For many people, including some younger seniors, anger can be a motivation to make positive changes in one’s life. But the ability to take those sudden, as well as those prolonged, bouts of anger, and transform them into action becomes more difficult as the aging process robs us of physical and mental energy. Sad feelings — even those experienced daily — did not trigger chronic health problems in this study. However, the researchers suggested that older adults and their health-care providers make it a priority to explore an individual’s coping responses to life’s challenges and develop more positive ways to feel and act.

So, if you or a loved one are feeling “hot under the collar,” find a productive, positive way to keep the heat from rising to your brain!

The mission of Bristol House Memory Care is to provide excellent care to residents and offer peace-of-mind to family members. Our vision is to be the memory care community of choice for families affected with Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia. In the spirit of open communication, we work together with families to create a culture at Bristol House Memory Care based on respect and dignity for all individuals. Our expertise in advanced care practices and commitment to ongoing training ensures that we will provide unsurpassed quality of care.

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