It sometimes appears as if it can’t be true that simply getting angry could cause a heart attack. However, according to a report by The University of Sydney on Feb. 24, 2015, you really should try to stay calm since anger really can trigger a heart attack. Research at the University of Sydney has revealed the risk of a heart attack is 8.5 times higher for two hours in the aftermath of an outbreak of intense anger.
This is the first study in Australia which has investigated the association between acute emotional triggers and a high risk of serious cardiac episodes. Lead author Dr. Thomas Buckley says these findings have confirmed what has been suggested in previous studies and anecdotal evidence that episodes of extreme anger can act as a trigger to set off a heart attack. The data from this study show that the increased risk of a heart attack isn’t necessarily just during the time when you’re angry, but instead can last for two hours after the outburst of anger.
It has also been revealed in this study that episodes of anxiety can increase the likelihood of having a heart attack. In the two hours following an anxiety episode there was a 9.5 fold increased risk of triggering a heart attack. The increased risk of a heart attack in the aftermath of intense anger or anxiety is probably due to increased blood pressure, heart rate, tightening of blood vessels and increased clotting, which are all associated with triggering of heart attacks.
The findings from this study have highlighted the need to consider strategies to protect people who are at the greatest risk during times of acute anger. Senior author Dr. Geoffrey Tofler says possible preventive approaches may be training in stress reduction to decrease the frequency and intensity of episodes of anger. It’s also a good idea to avoid activities that generally set off such intense reactions. And it’s advisable to improve general health by minimizing other risk factors, such as high cholesterol, hypertension or smoking to also decrease risk.
This study has been published in the European Heart Journal: Acute Cardiovascular Care. The researchers have concluded from this study that there is an increased relative risk for acute coronary occlusion with episodes of intense anger. Increased anxiety has also been found to be associated with coronary occlusion. Dr. Tofler gives good advice by suggesting that preventative strategies where possible should be considered since the message for people from this study is they should be aware that a burst of severe anger or anxiety may lead to a coronary event.