Hot temper 'may raise heart attack risk'
Published on 05 March 2014 02:00 PM
People are 5 times likelier to have a heart attack in the aftermath of an angry outburst, a new study suggests.
And researchers found the risk of suffering a stroke was 3 times higher during the two-hour period immediately after an attack of rage.
They say although the raised risk linked to a single outburst is relatively low it can accumulate, suggesting that those with a quick temper could be more prone to a heart attack or stroke.
Dr Elizabeth Mostofsky, of the Harvard School of Public Health in the US, said: 'Although the risk of experiencing an acute cardiovascular event with any single outburst of anger is relatively low, the risk can accumulate for people with frequent episodes of anger.'
It's important to learn how to cope with stress and anger
Doireann Maddock, senior cardiac nurse at the British Heart Foundation, said although it could be linked to the physiological changes that anger causes, more research was needed to establish why it was dangerous and whether stress-fighting techniques could help.
She said it was important for people to be able to cope with stress and anger, adding: 'Learning how to relax can help you move on from high-pressure situations. Many people find that physical activity can help to let off steam after a stressful day.
'If you think you are experiencing harmful levels of stress, or frequent anger outbursts, talk to your GP.'
Physical activity can help to let off steam after a stressful day
Researchers analysed data from nine separate studies involving thousands of people, and reported their findings in the European Heart Journal.
The team found that among people with low cardiovascular risk who were angry just once a month, one extra heart attack a year per 10,000 people could be expected.
Among those at high risk, including those with a history of heart disease, the risk was 4 times higher.
But with the risk being cumulative, the researchers calculated that having 5 angry outbursts a day would result in about 158 extra heart attacks per 10,000 people a year among those with a low cardiovascular risk.
Among people with a high risk, that number of daily episodes of rage would result in around 657 extra heart attacks per 10,000 annually, they said.
Copyright Press Association 2014