Anger Increases Risk of Cardiovascular Disease and Stroke: Study

Managing negative emotions, particularly anger, can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke, and cancer. Anger often manifests physically with a red face, sweating, weakness, and stomach upset. These symptoms can damage blood vessels, increasing the risk of heart disease and stroke.

A study published on May 1 in the Journal of the American Heart Association found that anger impairs blood vessel function, lasting 40 minutes. The study, involving 280 adults assigned to tasks inducing anger, anxiety, or sadness, showed no significant vascular changes for anxiety or sadness. Dr. Daichi Shimbo from Columbia University noted that anger-induced blood vessel dysfunction is linked to heart attacks and strokes. Dr. Glenn Levine of Baylor College of Medicine emphasized the impact of mental well-being on cardiovascular health.

Harvard’s systematic review revealed a 4.74 times higher risk of heart attack and a 3.62 times higher risk of stroke within two hours of an anger outburst. The intensity of anger correlates with increased risks of ventricular arrhythmia and other heart issues.

Frequent anger episodes also raise the risk of heart disease and cancer mortality. A European Heart Journal study showed that middle-aged and elderly individuals with frequent intense anger had a higher risk of heart failure, atrial fibrillation, and cardiovascular disease mortality. Men showed a 30% increase in heart failure risk, while those with diabetes showed a 39% increase.

Depression and anxiety also elevate heart attack and stroke risks by about 35%, according to a study presented at the American Heart Association Scientific Sessions in 2023. These conditions accelerate the development of risk factors like high blood pressure and diabetes.

Interventions to promote psychological health can benefit cardiovascular health. Dr. Jingduan Yang of the Yang Institute of Integrative Medicine suggests managing anger through mindfulness, healthy relationships, compassion, and practical techniques like deep breathing. Mindfulness-based stress reduction has been shown to be as effective as medication for anxiety disorders. Social connections also significantly impact physical health, with social isolation linked to a 30% higher risk of heart attack or stroke. Practicing forgiveness can reduce anxiety and depression, enhancing mental well-being.


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