Angry people ‘risking heart attacks


Having a hot temper may increase your risk of having a heart attack or stroke, according to researchers.

Rage often precedes an attack and may be the trigger, say the US researchers who trawled medical literature.

They identified a dangerous period of about two hours following an outburst when people were at heightened risk.

But they say more work is needed to understand the link and find out if stress-busting strategies could avoid such complications.

People who have existing risk factors, such as a history of heart disease, are particularly susceptible, they told the European Heart Journal.

In the two hours immediately after an angry outburst, risk of a heart attack increased nearly five-fold and risk of stroke increased more than three-fold, the data from nine studies and involving thousands of people suggests.

The Harvard School of Public Health researchers say, at a population level, the risk with a single outburst of anger is relatively low – one extra heart attack per 10,000 people per year could be expected among people with low cardiovascular risk who were angry only once a month, increasing to an extra four per 10,000 people with a high cardiovascular risk.

But the risk is cumulative, meaning temper-prone individuals will be at higher risk still.

Five episodes of anger a day would result in around 158 extra heart attacks per 10,000 people with a low cardiovascular risk per year, increasing to about 657 extra heart attacks per 10,000 among those with a high cardiovascular risk, Dr Elizabeth Mostofsky and colleagues calculate

Dr Mostofsky said: “Although the risk of experiencing an acute cardiovascular event with any single outburst of anger is relatively low, the risk can accumulate for people with frequent episodes of anger.”

It’s unclear why anger might be dangerous – the researchers point out that their results do not necessarily indicate that anger causes heart and circulatory problems.

Experts know that chronic stress can contribute to heart disease, partly because it can raise blood pressure but also because people may deal with stress in unhealthy ways – by smoking or drinking too much alcohol, for example.

The researchers say it is worth testing what protection stress-busting strategies, such as yoga, might offer.

Doireann Maddock, senior cardiac nurse at the British Heart Foundation, said: “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.”

source: BBC news


Study confirms ‘he hormone’ link to heart attacks

Heavily promoted male hormone products may be sending men flocking to stores, but their next stop may be the emergency room, according to a new study published Wednesday.

The research confirms earlier studies that show men with heart disease double their risk of heart attack soon after they start using testosterone gels or other supplements. And testosterone doubled the risk in men over 65 with or without heart disease.

“Patients and their physicians should discuss the risk of heart attacks when considering testosterone therapy,” said Sander Greenland, a professor of epidemiology at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, who led the study.

It’s a similar pattern to women using hormone replacement therapy after menopause — doctors used to think it lowered the risk of heart attacks and cancer, but it in fact has the opposite effect.

The study, published in the Public Library of Science journal PLoS ONE, confirms the results of several smaller studies. One published in November found that the use of “low T” therapy boosted the risk of serious problems including heart attack, stroke and death in men who already had heart trouble and who had low testosterone.

And another one released in December found that men with higher levels of the male hormone are more likely to have weak or no response to a flu vaccine, meaning that their bodies don’t mount a strong defense.

Nonetheless, the testosterone products are very heavily marketed to older men. And an influential essay in the New York Times Magazine, titled “The He Hormone,” brought even more attention to the idea of “man-opause”.

Greenland’s team, along with experts at the National Cancer Institute and Consolidated Research, Inc., looked at the records of more than 55,000 men. Heart attack rates more than doubled in men over 65 in the 90 days after getting a testosterone prescription, and it more than tripled for men 75 or older.

To be sure, they compared the men getting testosterone to those getting prescriptions for erectile dysfunction drugs, as the two groups are similar in many ways. The ED drugs, which include brands such as Viagra and Cialis, only very slightly raised the risk of heart attack.

“Taken together, the evidence supports an association between testosterone therapy and risk of serious, adverse cardiovascular-related events — including non-fatal myocardial infarction (heart attack) — in men,” they concluded.

Source: NBC news