A new study has found that an angry outburst may lead to heart attacks. The study, conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health, evaluated 6,000 cases of heart attacks, coronary syndrome, heart rhythm and stroke problems from January 1966 through June 2013. The study which was published in the European Heart Journal found that a person’s risk of suffering a heart attack is 5 times more likely after an angry outburst. They are also 3 times more likely to suffer a stroke.
Previous studies have suggested that individuals with aggressive personalities are far more likely to suffer a heart attack. According to the National Institute of Aging, aggressive personalities have a 40 percent higher chance of a stroke or hypertension, and have thicker carotid arteries, these being the two arteries that provide oxygen to the front part of the brain. People with aggressive personalities release of adrenaline is associated with the fight or flight mechanism of the human body. Non-aggressive personalities are able to produce this adrenaline and release it, but in aggressive personalities there is an overexertion of adrenaline which continues for a longer period of time. This is the first time that researchers have associated a relation between heart attacks and anger outburst. According to the Harvard School of Public Health people with cardiovascular risk are at a 4 in 10,000 risk of suffering a heart attack after an outburst. While those with no history of cardiovascular issues run a 1 in 10,000 risk of suffering a heart attack. The research also concluded that the risk is cumulative, meaning that a person that does not suffer from cardiovascular risk but is prone to anger outburst, is more likely to suffer from a heart attack.
It is believed that one of the reasons a person may have a heart attack following an anger outburst may be due to the adrenaline released into the blood stream after an angered person screams. This causes a constriction in the person’s blood vessels which then raises the blood pressure. When the blood pressure is raised the heart has problems pumping blood. Another explanation is that anger causes the stress hormones to become elevated thus creating changes in breath which then trigger unwanted reactions in arteries or in blood pressure. According to the American Heart Association there are various warning signs of a heart attack. The most common sign is discomfort in the center of the chest that either last a couple of minutes or leaves and comes back. A heart attack may also cause discomfort in other areas of the upper body, more specifically the arms, neck, back, jaw or stomach. Nausea and light-headedness are also listed. Most importantly is shortness of breath, which may or may not come with chest discomfort, leading many to ignore the symptom.
Learning how to cope with anger is the best method in preventing an anger induced heart attack. Researchers believe it is worth future testing stress deducting activities such as yoga to see if they benefit people who suffer from anger outburst and cardiovascular risk. The greatest recommendation is to see a general practitioner if suffering from anger outburst and cardiovascular disorder. General practitioners generally recommend a combination of cardiovascular workouts and anger therapy.
By Dony Lugo