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Can Anger Impact Your Heart?

I purposefully have avoided watching the new for the last several days.  The reason:  In the morning when I am working out on the elliptical I will watch television and I will usually start out by watching the morning news.  This week the news about the protests on the college campuses around the U.S. resulted in me feeling intense anger.  Sorry to get political on you as I try to NOT allow my personal opinions on world events enter these health-related blogs, but watching the hate spewed at our country and my tribe produced an anger I have not felt for years.  Having had several stent placements for blocked coronaries, I try to keep any anger I feel at bay. 

We have always heard that “anger” can result in someone having a heart attack or stroke but the studies proving this have been sort of lacking.  However, a recent article published in the Journal of the American Heart Association.  280 people were placed into different groups. For the first 30 minutes, all groups were placed in a relaxed environment.  Then different groups were assigned different tasks, with some of these tasks instilling anger/anxiety whereas others were more relaxed in nature.  Cardiac measurements were followed in all groups.

The groups that were assigned anger-inducing tasks showed a 50% less blood vessel dilation than the other groups.  As blood vessel constriction is linked to heart attacks and strokes the study concluded that having anger sensations for even as low as 8 minutes a day will increase the chances of an adverse cardiovascular event.  Additionally, the increase in cortisol release that occurs with anger will negatively impact blood pressure and heart rhythm.

It is pretty easy to recommend “anger control” to people and this will include exercising, yoga, meditation, learning how to express anger and many other techniques that are suggested to mitigate/address anger.  One of these should be avoiding situations that tend to induce anger.  If you find yourself being angry every time you watch your favorite football team, either do not watch of change team affiliations.  If watching the news gets you angry (such as in my case) watch a movie on Netflix.

And although I know I am about to lose some of you out there, a shout out to those (real) students out there that took down any flags other than the American flags on their campuses’ flag poles and monuments.  My grandparent’s escaped Nazi Germany but before doing so they saw first-hand how protests and demonstrations spewing hate their way culminated in a systematic extermination of their families and friends.   They luckily made their way to this great country and their hard work and love of America opened the door for me to live an amazing life here.  God Bless the U.S.A.

(And anyone offended by this post, one click allows you to unsubscribe as opposed to taking the time to write something offensive to me.  Let’s save both of us from some anger.)

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