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The Risk of Stroke and Heart Attack Is Now Associated with This Emotion



You’ve undoubtedly observed how quickly rage can raise your heart rate. The bodily side effects, however, last longer than the mood alone.

The first research to relate anger to blood vessel dysfunction was published in the Journal of the American Heart Association recently.

In particular, frequent anger restricts the widening of blood vessels. Atherosclerosis, or the accumulation of fatty deposits in blood vessel walls, is a condition that precedes heart disease and can result in heart attacks and strokes.

These results hold true for persistent rage. According to the study, occasional rage is normal and usually has no impact on heart health.

“If you’re a person who gets angry all the time, you’re having chronic injuries to your blood vessels,” says study leader Dr. Daichi Shimbo, a cardiologist at Columbia University Irving Medical Center. “It’s these chronic injuries over time that may eventually cause irreversible effects on vascular health and eventually increase your heart disease risk.”

In order to carry out the study, 280 healthy adults, ages 18 to 73, with an average age of 26, were chosen by the researchers. They did not have a history of high blood pressure, diabetes, or abnormal cholesterol levels, nor did they have any risk factors for heart disease. Participants did not have a history of documented mood problems, smoke, or use medication.

Following the measurement of blood flow variations in each participant’s dominant arm, individuals were allocated at random to either an emotional neutral condition or an emotional state intended to provoke anger, anxiety, or melancholy.

The “anger”  group’s participants were instructed to speak for eight minutes about a personal incident that made them feel that way. After the task and three, forty, seventy, and one hundred minutes later, the researchers tested their blood flow once more.

When these participants’ blood vessels were compared to those in the control group, who were asked to count aloud for eight minutes in order to create an emotional state of neutrality, they showed less capacity to dilate. After the task that caused anger, this vascular impairment persisted for as long as forty minutes.

Participants tasked with exercises that induced grief or anxiety did not experience any changes in their blood vessels.

However, the exact mechanisms underlying anger’s physiological effects remain unknown, according to researchers.


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