Getting really angry might be more dangerous than you think.
A new study found people who experienced severe anger outbursts were more at risk for cardiovascular events in the two hours following the outbursts compared to those who remained calm.
“The relative risk was similar for people who had known pre-existing heart disease and those who didn’t,” says Dr. Murray A. Mittleman, senior study author and an associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School.
The study was designed so that each patient was compared to his or her own baseline risk. “A person with pre-existing heart disease or cardiovascular disease, the absolute risk they are incurring is much greater than (that of) a person without cardiovascular disease or risk factors,” Mittleman says.
“If we look at somebody at higher risk for having cardiovascular events, and they get angry multiple times a day, this can lead to 650 extra heart attacks per year out of 10, 000 a year,” he says. “When we look at a person who is relatively low risk, but if they do have these episodes of anger fairly frequently, we estimate there would be about 150 extra heart attacks out of 10,000 a year.”