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Anger might increase heart attack risk fivefold

Posted on Mar 05 2014 | IANS

New York, March 5 : The next time you get angry with a colleague or neighbour, take a deep breath instead of blowing your top, as during the two hours following angry outbursts your risk of a heart attack rises nearly five times, said a study.

"We already know anger can be unhealthy but we wanted to quantify the risk - not just for heart attack but for other potentially lethal cardiovascular events as well," said Elizabeth Mostofsky, post-doctoral fellow at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Centre (BIDMC) in Boston.

For their research, Mostofsky and colleagues performed a systematic review of studies published between 1966 and 2013.

Despite differences between the studies, the researchers found that there was "consistent evidence of a higher risk of cardiovascular events immediately following outbursts of anger".

The results showed that the risk of heart attack or acute coronary syndrome, symptoms like chest pain, shortness of breath or sweating related to a blocked artery, was 4.7 times higher in the first two hours following an angry outburst than at any other time.

And the risk of stroke caused by a blocked artery in the brain was 3.6 times higher than at other times.

The researchers also examined two studies that looked at arrhythmia and anger.

Patients with implanted cardiac defibrillators (ICD), a device placed in the chest or abdomen to treat irregular heart beats, 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.

The study published in the European Heart Journal highlighted the need for more research on drugs and behavioural therapies for anger management.

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