New Study Finds Anger Is Heart-Health Risk

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Flying into a rage may be hurting your health, putting you at an increased risk for heart attack and stroke. A study has found that in the two hours following an outburst of anger, people were nearly five times as likely to have a heart attack, and the risk of stroke more than triples within the two hour period.

The study was published in the European Heart Journal, and was an evaluation of case-crossover studies. The researchers explained that there are numerous studies detailing how anger, stress, anxiety, and other psychological factors affect a person’s health in the long-run, however, they wanted to see what, if any, were the effects of anger in the short-term.

Statistically significant associations consistently occurred between an increased risk of a cardiovascular attack, and a recent outburst of anger. However, the researchers were only able to find nine studies to evaluate that provided information on the effect anger has on myocardial infarction (MI), ischaemic stroke, ruptured aneurysm, and ventricular arrhythmias. The nine studies provided over 4,000 cases of MI to study, and over 500 cases of stroke. All but one study used the “Onset Anger Scale” to measure a person’s level of irritability.

A small outburst is unlikely to have a severe impact, the researchers stated. So, even though the statistical evidence is strong, the actual risk may remain relatively small. Other factors do need to be considered for the role they play in heightening the risk: frequency, intensity, and if the person has a higher baseline risk for a cardiovascular event.

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