OBJETIVE: Conduct a bibliographic review of articles that deal a relationship between hypertension and emotional factors considering relevance of the subject. METHODS: Through an active search in the Virtual Health Library, querying the database MedLine (1997-2008), we used words of the Portuguese language. The chosen descriptors are "hypertension" and "coronary heart disease". After that, the search was improved by the adding of terms "hostility", "anger", "anxiety", "impulsive behavior" and "impulsive personality". All articles that had an exclusive reference about cardiovascular diseases and psychological factors or article that associated hypertension and cardiovascular disease with depression and Alzheimer's disease were not selected. RESULTS: There are inconsistencies in the findings about emotional factors related to hypertension and heart diseases. We found studies that demonstrate both positive and negative relationship between anger, hostility, anxiety, impulsivity and stress with hypertension and cardiovascular disease. CONCLUSION: We can infer from the searched relations is that the risk of hypertension's development and the cardiovascular reactivity seems to be influenced by emotional factors, like impulsivity, hostility, stressors, anxiety, anger. However, it is necessary to execute more studies to better elucidate these relations.
Hypertension; coronary heart disease; stress; hostility