In the two hours after an outburst of anger, the relative risk of angina and heart attack increased by nearly five times
Angry enough to have a heart attack? It might actually happen.
A new analysis has found that outbursts of anger can significantly increase the risk for irregular heart rhythms, angina, strokes and heart attacks.
Researchers combined data from nine studies of anger outbursts among patients who had had heart attacks, strokes and related problems. Most of the studies used a widely accepted anger assessment scale; one depended on a questionnaire administered to patients.
They found that in the two hours after an outburst of anger, the relative risk of angina and heart attack increased by nearly five times, while the risk of ischemic stroke and cardiac arrhythmia increased by more than three times. The findings appeared in The European Heart Journal.
The researchers stressed that the actual likelihood of having an anger-induced heart attack remains small. Still, for people with other risks for heart disease, any increase in risk is potentially dangerous.
The senior author, Dr. Murray A. Mittleman, an associate professor of medicine at Harvard, said that little is known about ways to prevent anger from causing heart problems. “Are there specific behavioral interventions that would be effective? Medicines?” he asked.
“There have been proposals for both,” he added, “but we need more and better research.”
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NICHOLAS BAKALAR: http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/03/13/anger-can-set-off-a-heart-attack/?_php=true&_type=blogs&_php=true&_type=blogs&_php=true&_type=blogs&_r=2