How anger and hostility affect your heart health

March 16, 2009 by  

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heart-burningNegative feelings can have adverse effects on your cardiovascular health. We know that depression and stress are not good for the health. But what about anger and hostility? In many films we see, anger is classically featured as an emotion that triggers heart attacks. However, research studies over the years have actually failed to provide conclusive evidence to support this. Until now.

Researchers from the University College London, UK performed a meta-analysis of studies that looked at the link between heart disease and the mind states anger and hostility. The studies covered almost 80,000 participants both healthy as well as those with pre-existing coronary heart disease (CHD) in Australasia, Europe, and America.

The results of the meta-analysis show that

anger and hostility were associated with a 19% increase in coronary heart disease (CHD) events in healthy individuals and a 24% increase in risk among those with preexisting CHD.”

The results of the analysis have been published in the most recent issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Other notable findings are:

The findings indicate that symptoms of anger and hostility should be taken serious when diagnosing and treating cardiovascular disease. However, suppression of these negative emotions does not actually lead to prevention but actually to the worsening of the problem.

To reduce the problem, the authors recommend the following:

The authors add that anger is not necessarily bad for the heart because it is a natural emotion that may have some evolutionary significance (e.g. warning signal, self-preservation, protection of the young, etc.). Instead the emotion should be “regulated and used in a socially meaningful and adaptive way.”

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2 Responses to “How anger and hostility affect your heart health”
  1. Evelyn says:

    OMG! I have a real problem with anger management and my father died the morning after yelling and fussing for hours over a broken hot-water pipe. I would say this is such a good point. Thank you for sharing!

  2. Ching Ya says:

    Nowadays we are vulnerable to emotional and anger management problems. The pressures from work & financial difficulties worsen the situation. If we don’t control our negative emotions & thoughts, it’ll kill us gradually, silently. Thanks for bringing up the issue,may we all bear in mind to keep a calming, and relaxed mind. At least, we must try to.

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