A new study suggests that people who do not vent out their anger are more likely at a risk to have a heart attack. So, people who lose their calm often are more likely at risk of cardiac arrests.
“The relative risk was similar for people who had known pre-existing heart disease and those who didn’t,” said Dr Murray A. Mittleman, senior study author and an associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School. “A person with pre-existing heart disease or cardiovascular disease, the absolute risk they are incurring is much greater than (that of) a person without cardiovascular disease or risk factors.”
Measuring each patient’s risk, the researchers calculated that one extra heart attack per 10,000 people per year could be expected among people with low cardiovascular risk who lost their temper only once a month. The risk increased to an extra four per 10,000 people with a high cardiovascular risk.
The researchers found that within two hours of an anger outburst the risk of a heart attack became nearly five times higher and risk of stroke increased more than three-fold.
“Anger causes our heart rate to increase through the sympathetic nervous system and causes our stress hormones to become elevated (the fight or flight mechanism),” explained Dr. Mariell Jessup, president of the American Heart Association and medical director of the Penn Heart and Vascular Center at the University of Pennsylvania.
Dr Mittleman recommends taking up exercise, switching to a healthy diet and giving up on smoking as the best ways to lower the risk for a heart attack or stroke during an angry outburst. It is necessary to find one’s own way of effective coping with anger, he says.