Beware: a flash of anger may cause a heart attack or stroke. photos/ cobalt220/ 4343621338/ photos/ cobalt220/ 4343621338/

There have been few studies exploring the link between short bouts of anger and cardiovascular events (in the hours following the outburst), but the evidence is consistently showing a direct relationship.
There were nine independent studies which when combined showed that the risk of heart attack (or acute coronary syndrome) was 4.74-fold higher in the hours after an angry outburst. Certainly, if the angry outbursts are becoming more frequent, the transient effects may accumulate leading to a larger, more ominous event (like a heart attack or stroke).

The increased risk of a cardiac event was increased for individuals who had a greater cardiovascular risk initially.
It is thought that anger can cause increase in circulating catecholamines, increase the heart’s need for oxygen, cause heart blood vessels to spasm, and increase platelet’s ability to make a clot.

There are studies that show that behavioral changes MAY ACTUALLY WORK!

  • One study was a group-based psychosocial intervention designed to reduce stress. This intervention cut mortality among women with heart disease.
  • Another studied showed that cognitive behavioral therapy–focused on stress management—lowered the risk of recurrent cardiovascular events in both men and women who had established heart disease.

Certainly, managing cardiovascular risks (smoking , high blood pressure, elevated blood sugars, obesity) is best to help decrease baseline cardiovascular disease AND we are seeing more information that managing stress may help avoid cardiovascular events, too!

About drlesliegreenberg

I have been practicing as a family physician for over 20 years--as both an educator of physicians and clinician. From infancy to the elderly, I perform obstetrics and general medicine. I love my career and am passionate about my field of knowledge and my patients. Follow me on Facebook at Leslie Md Greenberg Medical Disclaimer The content of this website is provided for general informational purposes only and is not intended as, nor should it be considered a substitute for, professional medical advice. Do not use the information on this website for diagnosing or treating any medical or health condition. If you have or suspect you have a medical problem, promptly contact your professional healthcare provider.
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