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Anger Has Been Connected To A Higher Risk Of Cardiac Problems, This Is The Reason



The saying “anger kills” may have a more literal meaning: recent studies point to a potential cause for the association between frequent outbursts of rage and a higher risk of cardiovascular disease. The study highlights the possible health concerns connected with extreme anger and sheds light on the impact of negative emotions on our general welfare. It was published on Wednesday in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

The study, which was supported by the US National Institutes of Health, included 280 healthy adults who were randomized to complete eight-minute tasks intended to generate feelings of neutrality, anger, anxiety, or melancholy. The participants’ endothelium health was evaluated by researchers both before and after these emotional tasks. The endothelium cells that lining blood arteries are critical for cardiovascular health and proper circulation as well as for preserving vessel integrity.

The results showed that anger significantly reduced the ability of endothelial cells to operate, which in turn limited the dilatation of blood vessels. Anxiety or grief did not come over as strongly.

As the primary study author and cardiologist at Columbia University Irving Medical Centre, Daichi Shimbo says this research is a step toward understanding how specific unpleasant emotions impact physical health.

Shimbo finds it intriguing that despair and anxiety did not have the same impact as anger, indicating that there may be differences in the ways that negative emotions affect heart disease.

In order to prevent the confounding effects of chronic illnesses, such diabetes, which might impair vascular function, the research team decided to analyze healthy individuals. According to Shimbo, if individuals had these diseases, their blood vessels may already have been impacted, making it challenging to assess the impact of emotions alone on vascular health.

Findings like these, according to cardiologist and George Washington University professor of radiology and medicine Brian Choi, may encourage medical professionals to look at treatments like anger management to see whether they can lower the risk of cardiovascular disease.

“We often hear of someone suffering a heart attack during a highly distressing event. We’ve known that stress from anger can trigger a heart attack, but we didn’t understand why until this study, which elucidates the underlying mechanism,” Choi says.

According to Shimbo, he wants to learn more about why anger is bad for the heart, specifically if it has to do with inflammation or the sympathetic nervous response, the body’s alarm mechanism.

According to David Spiegel, an associate chair in psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Stanford University School of Medicine, there has been a significant increase in the number of cases of mental illness in recent years, including anxiety and depression.

Anxiety disorders are thought to have affected 17% of Australians in the past year, according to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. According to estimates from the 2020–2022 National Study of Mental Health and Wellbeing, 43% of people have experienced mental illness at some point in their lives. Anger is a common way for both anxiety and sadness to manifest.

While anger is a normal emotion, he continues, persistent anger can have long-term effects on the person experiencing it as well as on those around them.

“The concern is that when people are angry all the time, they kind of have their foot on the accelerator and the brake. … So anger has its body costs,” Spiegel says. “It’s not only the person you’re angry at who pays the price when you’re angry, your body pays the price for it.”

Commonly used therapies for anger management include cognitive-behavioral therapy, training in communication skills, stress management techniques, and relaxation techniques.


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