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Angry Outbursts Harm the Heart

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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About the Author
Terry Graedon, PhD, is a medical anthropologist and co-host of The People’s Pharmacy radio show, co-author of The People’s Pharmacy syndicated newspaper columns and numerous books, and co-founder of The People’s Pharmacy website. Terry taught in the Duke University School of Nursing and was an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology. She is a Fellow of the Society of Applied Anthropology. Terry is one of the country's leading authorities on the science behind folk remedies..
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