Will getting angry give you a stroke?

PHOTO: Will getting angry give you a stroke?

It is not typical for someone to get a stroke due to anger, unless there is an underlying medical condition, according to experts.

"Emotional upset is part and parcel of everyday life," said neurologist Charles Siow of Mount Elizabeth Hospital. "By itself, it doesn't usually trigger a stroke."

But those with a history of diabetes or high cholesterol, or even regular smokers, are at higher risk. And getting riled up could be the trigger that pushes people in this group over the edge.

"It's possible, because of the effects of stress on the body," Dr Siow said.

Getting angry releases "fight or flight" hormones that can raise one's blood pressure and heart rate, he explained. Blood vessels leading to the brain may either get blocked or rupture, and that is when a stroke occurs.

"When it happens, it happens instantaneously," Dr Siow added. "It's like the snapping of fingers."

Symptoms vary according to what part of the brain is damaged by the stroke and can include slurred speech, weakness on one side of the body, or sudden blurring of vision.

The most important thing to remember in the event of a stroke is to get medical help as soon as possible, said Dr Siow. "The quicker you get treated, the more brain you save."

This article was first published on Nov 9, 2014.
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