Research has suggested that hostility and anger increase the risk for heart disease. A new study published in the American Journal of Cardiology confirms that losing your temper could trigger a heart attack.

The investigators studied nearly 4,000 patients who had heart attacks between 1989 and 1996. Nearly 1500 of them recalled outbursts of anger, often just a few hours before their heart attack occurred. The greater the outpouring of emotion, the higher the risk. People who lost control, threw things or became violent were over 4 times more likely to have a heart attack shortly after the emotional explosion. If people prone to angry outburst realized that they are putting themselves at serious cardiovascular risk, they might learn other ways to manage their distress.

[The American Journal of Cardiology, online May 2, 2013]

Although the study is new, the link between hostility and heart disease is not. We interviewed Redford Williams, MD, and Virginia Williams, PhD, about this connection and how to manage anger more productively more than seven years ago. Here’s the interview.

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  1. Carrie

    You make a very valid point. It’d be interesting to see the ratios of the two types of angry people in one of their studies.

  2. RJZ

    Probably what killed my ex.

  3. MJW

    I agree with Barb, in that this is something we know. And we know that every emotion we feel is recorded somewhere in the body. The current wave of mind/body therapies (Focusing, Somantic Experiencing, Mindsight, etc.) represent the next phase in human development, which means listening to the body for its wisdom.

  4. Barb

    This, like so many other common sense things, took a STUDY?

  5. tct

    The link to the 2008 interview is not very helpful since the interview itself is not on the page. I would have been very interested to listen to the interview since I can always use new tips on handling anger!

  6. bf

    Honestly, I would think that tightened-down, non-showing hostility would be worse on a person than lashing out. All the anger would be turned inward I think. I think it is the type of person (an angry one) is the problem, not necessarily HOW they show their anger……..

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