Neuroticism is a personality trait characterized by a tendency to interpret situations as stressful and destructive, said the study's lead author, Luina Lee, a clinical psychologist.
"Individuals with high levels of neuroticism are prone to experiencing negative emotions, such as fear, anxiety, sadness and anger, more intensely and frequently," she explained.
The study looked at data on more than 1,000 men with an average age of 53 who did not have cardiovascular disease or cancer at the time.
Participants completed neuropsychological tests on a scale of 0 to 9, and the Anxiety Assessment Tool recorded how many times they worried about 20 items they had been exposed to during their lifetime.
Anxiety refers to our attempts to solve problems around an issue whose future outcome is uncertain and may be positive or negative.
"Anxiety can be adaptive, for example, when it leads us to constructive solutions. However, anxiety can also be unhealthy, especially when it becomes uncontrollable and interferes with our daily functioning," she explained to me.
The men underwent physical examinations and blood tests every three to five years, and the research team used follow-up data to measure various risk factors.
These factors included levels of blood pressure, cholesterol, fasting blood sugar levels, inflammatory markers and levels of obesity, which is measured by body mass index (BMI).
Experts said that the more of these problems men had, the more likely they were to develop the disease. They found that for men between the ages of 33 and 65, the number of risk factors increased by one per decade, followed by a slower increase once they reached the age of 65.
And at all ages, men with higher levels of neuroticism and a greater number of high-risk cardiometabolic factors had.
They also found that higher neuroticism was associated with a 13% higher likelihood of having six or more heart disease risk factors.
In addition, they found that men with high levels of anxiety had a 10 percent higher likelihood of developing six or more cardiovascular disease risk factors.
However, the researchers stated that it was not clear if any of the men were receiving treatment for anxiety or other similar problems.
The study was conducted over a period of four decades and included mainly white men, so it is not clear how this applies to everyone.
Dr Lee added: "It will be important for future studies to assess whether these associations exist between women, and people from diverse racial and ethnic groups.
Future studies will also be interested in more socioeconomically diverse samples, looking at how anxiety correlates with the development of cardiac metabolic risk in much smaller individuals in our study."