Angry outburst may raise risk of heart attack, stroke

LONDON - Having a hot temper may raise your risk of having a heart attack or stroke, BBC reported yesterday.

It said researchers, who trawled through medical literature, concluded that rage often preceded an attack and may be the trigger.

They identified a dangerous period of about two hours following an outburst when people were at heightened risk.

But they emphasised in the study published in the European Heart Journal that more work was needed to understand the link.

In the two hours immediately after an outburst, the risk of a heart attack increased nearly five-fold and the risk of stroke rose more than three-fold, data from nine studies involving thousands of people suggested.

The Harvard School of Public Health researchers said that, at a population level, the risk with a single outburst of anger was relatively low - one extra heart attack per 10,000 people per year could be expected among people with low cardiovascular risk who were angry only once a month, increasing to an extra four per 10,000 people with a high cardiovascular risk.

"Although the risk of experiencing an acute cardiovascular event with any single outburst of anger is relatively low, the risk can accumulate for people with frequent episodes of anger," Dr Elizabeth Mostofsky said.

Five episodes of anger a day would result in 158 extra heart attacks per 10,000 people with a low cardiovascular risk per year, rising to 657 extra attacks per 10,000 among those with a high cardiovascular risk, Dr Mostofsky and her colleagues calculated.

The researchers point out that their results do not necessarily indicate that anger causes heart and circulatory problems, BBC noted.

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