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"There has been a lot of research on anger; we already know it can be unhealthy, but we wanted to quantify the risk, not just for heart attack, but for other potentially lethal cardiovascular events as well," says lead author
In the study published in the
The researchers found that despite differences between the studies, there was "consistent evidence of a higher risk of cardiovascular events immediately following outbursts of anger."
The study results showed that the risk of heart attack or acute coronary syndrome - the symptoms like chest pain, shortness of breath or sweating related to a blocked artery - was 4.7 times higher in the two hours following an angry outburst than at any other time. And the risk for stroke caused by a blocked artery in the brain was 3.6 times higher than at other times. One of the studies included in the review indicated a 6.3 fold increased risk for brain aneurysm in the hour following an outburst of anger compared with other times.
Mostofsky and colleagues also examined two studies that looked at arrhythmia and anger. Analysis of these studies showed that patients with implanted cardiac defibrillators (ICD) were nearly twice as likely to experience an abnormal heart rate requiring a shock from the ICD in the 15 minutes following an angry outburst than at other times.
"It's important to bear in mind that while these results show a significantly higher risk of a cardiovascular event associated with an angry outburst, the overall risk for people without other risk factors like smoking or high blood pressure is relatively small," says senior author
While it's possible that medications and other interventions that may lower the frequency of angry outbursts or the risk associated with anger, Mostofsky says "more research including clinical trials are needed to identify which drugs or behavioral therapies will be most effective."
Keywords for this news article include: Heart Attack, Brain Aneurysm, Risk and Prevention, Myocardial Infarction,
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