Angry outbursts raise heart attack risk
Learning how to channel rage won’t help just your emotional state, it can also help your heart. Harvard University researchers say the risk of heart attack, stroke and other cardiovascular conditions increases two hours after an initial outburst of rage.
Published in the European Heart Journal, the research focused on the relationship between anger and cardiovascular complications, reviewing studies between January 1966 and June 2013. Using this information, the researchers analyzed 5,000 heart attacks, 800 strokes, and 300 cases of arrhythmia.
The researchers determined that the risk of heart attack increases five times and the risk of stroke increases three times within two hours after an anger outburst, compared to when a person is not angry. The risk of abnormal heartbeat also increases.
The more heart issues or history someone already has, the greater the risk becomes. If someone with few risk factors loses their cool once a month, the risk is very small. However, someone with several risk factors who is often angry increases their risk, especially over time. For example, the researchers estimated the annual rate of heart attack per 10,000 people with low risk factors who are angry once a month increases by only one. But this number jumps to four in people with high cardiovascular risk.
The researchers did acknowledge that they did not establish a cause and effect. So it remains if anger actually triggers the cardiovascular problems.