Healthy Holistic Living

Why Anger Is Literally Breaking Your Heart

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It has been a long known fact that laughter is the best medicine.

And this is becoming more evident as increasing amounts of research show how anger can be slowly killing you with multiple health issues.

New research from the Duke University Medical Center has shown that anger can be causing heart disease, sleep problems, and be a factor in causing diabetes.

“Anger is bad for just about everything we have going on physically.”

Director, Dr. Redford Williams of the Behavioral Medicine Research Center at Duke University Medical Center, shows how anger can cause long term damage to the heart.


When we show strong anger, our bodies release adrenaline and cortisol into the bloodstream. These hormones increase our heart rate, blood pressure, and sugar metabolism.

This might have been good in our caveman days, when “the more angry you got, the more aggressive you were, [and] the more food you got,” says Scott Wetzler, but unless you’re ready to physically fight, these hormones are only raising risks of a stroke or heart attack.

Clenched Fists and Clogged Arteries

Increased blood pressure caused by anger emitted hormones, damages the lining of arteries which cause them to clog.

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A recent study took 300 patients who suffered heart attacks and questioned them on their feelings of anger in the 48 hours preceding their attack. Those who experienced intense anger were 8.5 times more likely to suffer a heart attack.

And it only took two hours after the outburst for its crippling effects to take place.


“This study adds to the small, but growing, body of evidence linking acute emotional triggers with onset.”

Nine previous studies published their findings in 2014 in the European Heart Journal on the link between anger and heart disease. The studies proved in 6,400 patients that within two hours following an angry outburst, there was a higher rate of:

– Strokes

– Heart Attacks

– Arrhythmia

– And irregular heartbeat

Blurred Vision and Blood Sugars

A study done in 2006 that followed 643 men found that those with high levels of hostility were more susceptible to insulin resistance, which could lead to diabetes.

However, the findings of anger causing diabetes are mixed.


Obesity and smoking are still what doctors believe to be the greatest risk factors to heart disease and diabetes. However, it is strongly acknowledged by medical professionals that an individual who is already vulnerable to heart disease should lessen their stress and angry outbursts.

Even one angry episode a month could trigger multiple health issues in those who have a history of heart attack or stroke.

“Usually the more intense the experience of anger, the more physical sensations they have.”

Joe Pereira, anger-management counselor, states that his patients describe adrenaline rush, increased heart rate, and muscle tension when angry. He encourages patients to log anger and write down physical changes in order to help maintain the outbursts.

Experts also suggest taking a timeout to work through anger and help decrease stress levels to stay healthy.


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