Dr. Bill explains the link between anger and heart attacks Show Notes

Monday, May 12, 2014 Host(s): Dr. Bill Maier
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Here’s another reason to keep your cool under stress. HealthDay News is reporting on a new study that found that angry outbursts could raise your odds for a heart attack or stroke.

The researchers say the risk to any one person of a having heart trouble after an outburst remains very low. But their review of multiple studies found that the risk did rise considerably compared to periods of calm.

Dr. Sripal Bangalore at NYU Medical Center in New York City says "It’s not surprising that such an association is seen since we know that anger is associated with increased reaction of the body's nervous system to stress."

The unhealthy reaction to anger includes "increases in heart rate and blood pressure -- both of which can have immediate negative consequences.

In the study, researchers found that within two hours of an angry outburst, a person's risk of heart attack increased nearly five-fold, their risk of stroke rose nearly four-fold and their risk of a dangerous heart rhythm disorder called ventricular arrhythmia also rose.

The risk was highest among people who got angry more often and had existing risk factors such as prior heart problems.

Lead researcher Elizabeth Mostofsky at the Harvard School of Public Health, says because outbursts of anger are relatively rare and the effect seems to be temporary, "the impact on an individual's absolute risk of a cardiovascular event is small."

But she says certain people might be at higher risk, such as those who have already had a heart attack, a stroke or diabetes.

To learn more about caring for your heart and the risk factors for heart disease, visit the American Heart Association’s website at heart.org.

I’m Bill Maier for WBCL.
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