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Sending Negative Tweets Could Mark You For Early Death, Study Says

Mean and profane social media updates from "younger adults" may predict heart disease, according to researchers.

Do most of your tweets and statuses begin with "I hate it when..."? You might want to chill -- for your health.

University of Pennsylvania researchers culled a random sample of public, location-tagged tweets from across 1,300 counties, and found that negative tweets -- with expletives and words like "hate" -- correlated with a higher prevalence of heart disease deaths for an area, the Washington Post reports.

On the other hand, tweets with positive emotional connotations and mentions of "friends" were associated with lower rates of heart disease.

Not only did the study conclude that negative tweets are linked to a higher risk of heart disease, but the researchers found tweets to be a better predictor of heart disease risk than known factors like smoking, diabetes and obesity combined.

University of Pennsylvania

It's important to point out that this doesn't mean if you fire off an angry tweet, you're more likely to have a heart attack down the line. The tweets were only indicative of the surrounding community's overall risk, meaning they more or less serve as a gauge of the community that influenced them. A hostile tweet is more likely from a more stressful environment, and stress increases risk for coronary disease.

"The people tweeting are not the people dying," the study clarifies. "However, the tweets of younger adults may disclose characteristics of their community, reflecting a shared economic, physical, and psychological environment."

Lead researcher Johannes Eichstaedt added, "When people in your community are angry you are likely to feel that simply through psychological contagion."

Still, with its publicly available archives and real-time, location-based trends, Twitter is a treasure trove for stat geeks and anyone looking to study patterns. Maybe it's time to log off the computer and go for a heart-healthy walk.