Exercising while angry triples your chances of a heart attack, a major new study finds.

Never Do This When You’re Angry

In All Health Watch, Anti-Aging, Blood Pressure, Featured Article, Heart and Cardiovascular, Heart Attacks by INH Research0 Comments

Many people like to cope with anger with a hard workout. That’s a bad idea.

In fact, it could kill you, according to a new study.1

Researchers from the Crozer-Keystone Family Medicine Residency Program in Springfield, Pa., gathered data from over 12,000 heart attack victims in 52 countries.

The participants completed questionnaires asking the kind of “triggers” they had experienced before their heart attack.

They found that strong emotions and strenuous physical activity in the previous hour doubled the chances of a heart attack.2 But one emotion increased the risk of a heart attack even more. It was anger.

When subjects combined anger with strong exertion, their chance of a heart attack more than tripled. The results held for both men and women.3

What makes anger and exercise such a lethal combination for your heart?


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How Anger Can Kill You

Researchers say that extreme emotions and physical exertion both drive up blood pressure and heart rate. Emotions, particularly anger, cause blood vessels to constrict. In people with plaque-narrowed arteries, it can cut off blood flow to the heart. This brings on a heart attack.4

Dr. Andrew Smyth is the lead author of the study. Both anger and exercise “can raise blood pressure and heart rate, changing the flow of blood through blood vessels and reducing blood supply to the heart,” he explained.

“This is particularly important in blood vessels already narrowed by plaque, which could block the flow of blood leading to a heart attack.”

Drugs commonly used to prevent heart attacks had no protective effect, researchers said. People taking statins, aspirin, or blood pressure drugs were just as likely to suffer a heart attack after exercising while angry as people taking no medication.

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The findings were published recently in the American Heart Association’s journal Circulation. The researchers say their study provides evidence of a “crucial link” between mind and body.

Dr. Barry Jacobs is director of behavioral sciences at the Crozer-Keystone Family Medicine Residency Program. He said the study shows “Excess anger, under the wrong conditions, can cause a life-threatening heart attack. All of us should practice mental wellness and avoid losing our temper to extremes.”

He advocates that people learn appropriate ways to deal with their emotions like meditation and relaxation exercises.

Beat Stress in Just Minutes

If you are stressed, Harvard University researchers recommend a simple but powerful breathing exercise to quickly get rid of your emotional steam.

First, sit in a quiet, comfortable location. Take a normal breath.

Then take a deep breath. Breathe in slowly through your nose, making sure your chest and lower belly expand as you completely fill your lungs. Breathe out slowly through your mouth.

Now close your eyes. Continue taking slow, deep breaths and think of an image that makes you happy. It could be a loved one or a place you enjoy.

After five minutes, you’ll feel calmer and more focused.

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In Good Health,

Angela Salerno
Executive Director, INH Health Watch

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References:
1http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/exercising-angry-heart-attack-risk-andrew-smyth-a7354906.html
2http://circ.ahajournals.org/content/134/15/1059
3https://consumer.healthday.com/cardiovascular-health-information-20/heart-attack-news-357/anger-heavy-exertion-may-trigger-heart-attack-study-715697.html
4http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/exercising-angry-heart-attack-risk-andrew-smyth-a7354906.html

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