Angry outbursts linked to heart attack risk

4 March 2014        

Outbursts of anger may trigger heart attacks, strokes and other cardiovascular problems in the two hours immediately afterwards, according to researchers.

A meta-analysis found that in the two hours immediately after feeling angry, a person’s risk of a heart attack increased nearly five-fold (4.74%), the risk of stroke increased more than three-fold (3.62%).

Learning how to relax can help you move on from high pressure situations.

Our Senior Cardiac Nurse, Doireann Maddock, said: “This research found that peoples risk of heart attack and stroke increased for a short time after they lost their temper.

“It’s not clear what causes this effect. It may be linked to the physiological changes that anger causes to our bodies, but more research is needed to explore the biology behind this.

“The way you cope with anger and stress is also important. Learning how to relax can help you move on from high pressure situations. Many people find that physical activity can help to let off steam after a stressful day.

“If you think you are experiencing harmful levels of stress or frequent anger outbursts talk to your GP.”

Sometimes the anger comes later. Finding out you have heart disease can leave you feeling helpless and upset. We've spoken to Diane, a counsellor, to find out how you can deal with these difficult emotions.