Can losing your temper cause heart problems? Yes, the evidence is in. Frequent anger causes heart disease.
A recent study conducted a meta-analysis of nine studies performed between 1995 and 2013. The authors looked at risk of myocardial infarction (heart attack), stroke, and abnormal heart rhythms during the two hours after an anger outburst.
- Myocardial infarction. There was a 4.74 times higher risk of experiencing a heart attack or severe chest pain from a nearly occluded coronary artery following an anger outburst.
- Stroke. There was a 3.63 times higher risk of having a stroke from a blood clot to the brain or bleeding within the brain during the 2 hours after an anger outburst. For people with an aneurysm of one of the arteries in the brain, there was a 6.3 times higher risk of rupturing this aneurysm following an outburst of anger.
- Abnormal heart rhythms from the lower heart chambers (ventricular arrhythmias). Abnormal ventricular rhythms from the lower heart chambers can lead to cardiac arrest if they are fast and sustained. In regards to these abnormal heart rhythms, following an outburst of anger there was a 1.85 times higher rate of abnormal ventricular arrhythmias during the first 15 minutes. Although with time this risk lowered, during the next 2 hours there still was a noticeably higher risk of 1.35 times the normal rate.
A pattern of unmanaged anger on a daily basis is really a problem for your heart and body. For people who experience up to five episodes of anger outbursts a day, the rate of experiencing a heart attack, stroke, or abnormal heart rhythm is dramatically increased. This increased risk is independent of all the other known causes of heart disease. For example, if you have no other risk factors for heart disease, such a high blood pressure, high cholesterol, etc., poor anger control increases your risk by 5 percent. If you have many traditional risk factors for heart disease, poor anger control increases your risk to 20 percent.
This study further expands our understanding of how emotions and mood can affect our entire body. Anger outbursts are common and can significantly impact your heart health. If you struggle with anger, seek help not only for those around you, but also for your own well being.
There are many ways to help with anger control and our natural responses to stressful situations. Your heart is depending on your good sense in seeking help. You may contact me for a FREE phone consult and we can work via video skype, phone,
in my Long Island offices or on your site. As a certified Anger Management Specialist, EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques) practitioner, success coach for work/life and educator, I have helped thousands manage stress and anger. Allow me to help you!