Anger is linked to heart disease—a study shows why

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Angry woman yelling into smartphone (thumbnail). © Westend61/Imago

Negative emotions not only affect general well-being, but can increase the risk of heart disease.

The phrase “anger kills” may have a more literal meaning: New research suggests a possible reason why frequent anger is linked to an increased risk of heart disease. Inspection, Wednesday I am Journal of the American Heart Association Published Highlights the health risks associated with intense anger and sheds light on the influence of negative emotions on our overall well-being.

In the study, funded by the National Institutes of Health, 280 healthy adults were randomly assigned to various eight-minute tasks, each designed to elicit feelings of anger, fear, sadness, or neutrality. The researchers examined these emotional tasks before and after Health Endothelial cells of the participants.

Endothelial cells, which line the inside of blood vessels, are important in maintaining the integrity of the vessels and play an important role in good blood flow and cardiovascular health. The results showed that anger had a significant negative impact on endothelial function and limited the ability of blood vessels to dilate. When fear or sadness occurs, the reaction is not pronounced.

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How negative emotions affect physical health

According to study lead author Daiichi Shimbo, a cardiologist and professor of medicine at Columbia University Irving Medical Center, the research is a step toward better understanding the impact of various negative emotions on physical health. “It is intriguing that fear and sadness do not have the same effect as anger, suggesting that negative emotions contribute to heart disease in different ways,” Shimbo said.

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The research team chose to study healthy populations to avoid chronic ones diseases how Diabetics, which can affect vascular function, distorting the results. Shimbo pointed out that participants with such illnesses may already have compromised blood vessels, so it would be difficult to determine the impact of emotions alone on vascular health.

Can Anger Management Treatments Reduce Heart Disease Risk?

Brian Choi, a cardiologist and professor of medicine and radiology at George Washington University, said findings like these could prompt health care providers to study treatments such as anger management to see if they can reduce heart disease risk.

“We often hear about a heart attack occurring during a very stressful event. “We knew that angry stress could trigger heart attacks, but until this study that clarified the underlying mechanism, we didn’t understand why,” Choi said. Shimbo says he wants to further investigate the causes of anger’s negative effects on the heart, and whether the cause is related to sympathetic nervous response (the body’s warning system) or inflammation.

Stethoscope on ECG recording
Frequent anger is associated with a higher risk of cardiovascular disease (code image). © blickwinkel/Imago

Constant feelings of anger have long-term effects

David Spiegel, vice president of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Stanford University School of Medicine, said rates of mental illnesses, including depression and anxiety, have risen in recent years, affecting 31 percent of Americans at some point in their lives. . Anxiety and depression often manifest in the form of anger.

He adds that although anger is a normal emotion, persistent feelings of anger have long-term effects not only on the individual but also on those around them. “The problem is that people who are constantly angry put their foot on the accelerator and the brake. … So anger has physical consequences,” Spiegel said. “When you’re angry it’s not just the person you’re angry with that pays the price, but your own body pays too.”

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Common treatments for anger management usually include cognitive behavioral therapy, relaxation techniques, stress management strategies, and communication training.

About the author

Sabrina Mali He has been working at the Washington Post since 2020. Her focus is on mainstream news and child and maternal health issues. Sabrina Malhi was the president of the South Asian Journalists Association and continues to serve on its board.

We are currently testing machine translations. This article was automatically translated from English to German.

This article was originally published in English on May 1,” Published – as part of a collaboration, which is now available in translation to readers of IPPEN.MEDIA portals.

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