People who experience angry outbursts are five times more likely to have a heart attack in the following two hours, a new Harvard research has warned.
Statistical analysis of 6,000 heart attacks and strokes suggested that in the two hours after an angry outburst, the risk of an attack was 4.74 times higher than at other times and the risk of stroke 3.62 times higher.
According to scientists at Harvard University, thousands of cardiac arrests are triggered by outbursts of rage each year, with high-risk people such as those with raised blood pressure most likely to suffer from losing their temper, ‘The Times’ reported.
Psychological treatments to calm people down could be an effective way to prevent heart attacks alongside drugs such as statins and beta-blockers, they 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,” said Elizabeth Mostofsky, an epidemiologist at the Harvard School of Public Health and main author of the study.
“This is particularly important for people who have higher risk due to other underlying risk factors or those who have already had a heart attack, stroke or diabetes.
“A person without many risk factors for cardiovascular disease, who has only one episode of anger per month, has a very small additional risk, but a person with multiple risk factors or a history of heart attack or stroke, and who is frequently angry, has a much higher absolute excess risk over time,” Mostofsky added.
The study suggests that people who said they were furious were at higher risk than those who said that they were merely ‘moderately angry’, but researchers cautioned that there was not enough data to judge whether more intense anger made heart problems more likely. The study was published in the European Heart Journal.