Anger Boosts Your Immediate Risk of Suffering a Heart Attack

Anger can impact your personal relationship and cause negative effects in your life, but a new study shows it can also kill you. Your risk of heart attack climbs when you've gone through a period of intense anger, and anxiety causes the same risk, Australian researchers found.

Anger and Anxiety Both Raise the Risk

The study involved over 300 heart attack survivors and found that, on a scale of one to five, seven patients had experienced level five anger within two hours of their attack. Another patient hit level five four hours before his heart attack. Five additional patients had hit level four in the prior four hours. According to the researchers, that translates into a risk of 8.5 times higher than normal for those who experience the highest anger level, and it remains at that level for four hours. Extreme anxiety is even worse, with a 9.5 times greater heart attack risk.

According to Dr. Thomas Buckley of the University of Sydney and Royal North Shore Hospital in Australia, the elevated risk is "most likely the result of increased heart rate and blood pressure, tightening of blood vessels and increased clotting, all associated with triggering of heart attacks."

Any Trigger Causes Problems

Patients in the study who experienced intense anger prior to their attacks said it was caused by a variety of circumstances, including family disagreements, conflicts at work, arguments with other people, and road rage incidents. This variety shows that it's important to manage your anger, regardless of what typically triggers it, as any type has the same physical effect.

If you'd like to assess your anger management skills, take this test. Some of the warning signs of a potential anger problem include shaking, sweating, shallow breathing, dizziness, tightening your fists, and raising your voice when confronted with a stressful situation. You may be able to manage minor anger problems yourself with these tips, but seek a professional's help if it looks like you're in the danger zone.