According to a new study published in Psychological Science, Twitter can track heart disease risk

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January 24, 2015 03:25 PM

Feeling super stressed? You may not want to Tweet about it.

Expressing negative emotions on Twitter is associated with a higher risk of heart disease in communities, according to new research published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.

“Psychological states have long been thought to have an effect on coronary heart disease,” said the study’s co-author Margaret Kern of the University of Melbourne in Australia. With that in mind, could the 140 characters people use to express themselves on Twitter indicate the heart health of a population?

In short, yes. After analyzing Tweets from 1,300 counties, researchers found Twitter to be a better predictor of heart disease than factors like smoking, stress, income and education combined.

Tweets using negative language like the word “hate” or expressing anger, stress and fatigue were strongly correlated with heart disease mortality, while optimistic, positive Tweets using language like “wonderful” or “friends” may be protective against heart disease, according to the study.

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