World Heart Day 2022: Can screaming, losing temper trigger a heart attack? Experts answer

Published on Sep 25, 2022 04:10 PM IST

World Heart Day 2022: Do you frequently lose your temper or scream and shout at people when things don't go your way? You may be at risk of a heart attack.

It is a proven fact that negative feeling like anger, depression and anxiety is related to cardiovascular diseases(Pexels)
It is a proven fact that negative feeling like anger, depression and anxiety is related to cardiovascular diseases(Pexels)
By, Delhi

World Heart Day 2022: Do you frequently lose your temper or scream and shout at people when things don't go your way? Anger, irritation, negative feelings or other unpleasant emotions can raise your risk of cardiovascular diseases and well, heart attack. Studies have found out that releasing anger in a healthy way or expressing it moderately could on the other hand protect one against heart problems and stroke. It is the angry reaction or sudden outburst that one must be careful about. In addition to this, people who scream and shout when angry also tend to have poor coping mechanism against distressing emotions which can lead them to consume alcohol and other such toxic substances which further raises risk of heart issues and heart attack. On the occasion of World Heart Day (September 29), we find the connection between anger and heart disease. (Also read: 4 simple lifestyle rules to prevent heart attack in young)

"Anger can be defined as an unpleasant emotion ranging in intensity from irritation or annoyance to fury or rage. It is a proven fact that negative feeling like anger, depression and anxiety is related to cardiovascular diseases. Some studies found that moderate anger expression seemed to protect against incident myocardial infarction and stroke in men while increased levels of angry reactions to stress (expressed or concealed anger and irritability) were strongly associated with premature myocardial infarction in men. Moreover, people who express anger in an ineffective way, or have difficulty regulating their negative emotions may use different substances to get rid of the distressing emotion which can secondarily cause heart attacks and other heart diseases. Because CVDs are often associated with specific adverse behaviours, it seems intuitive that certain personality traits may be associated with development and prognosis of CVDs," says Dr Trideep Choudhury, M.D. Psychiatry, Consultant Psychiatrist, Department of Mental health and behavioural sciences, Fortis Flt. Lt. Rajan Dhall Hospital, Vasant Kunj, New Delhi.

"We have had end number of cases in which the person gets stressed out, loses temper and subsequently had heart attack. Let me narrate a story. One gentleman's son was fighting with someone for money and he was trying to diffuse the fight but unfortunately the fight got so ugly that the son of the gentleman and the other person got into fisticuffs; seeing this the gentleman who was a post-bypass patient had suddenly a heart attack and collapsed there itself and could not be revived. Losing a person's temper could trigger a heart attack. The possible reason could be the increased blood flow in the arteries of the heart, this increased turbulence of blood flow can cause a plaque rupture and this can precipitate a blockage in the artery of the heart which could lead to heart attack and prove to be fatal," says Dr Ruchit Shah, Interventional Cardiologist, Masina Hospital, Mumbai.

"According to studies and researches, the heart up to an extent can be harmed by long-term stress, which can involve intense emotions like anger, worry, and depression. Adrenaline, a stress hormone that signals your body to get ready for potentially dangerous situations, is released in large quantities when you're angry. It can also make blood more prone to clot, increase blood pressure, pulse rate, and respiration, all of which can weaken arterial walls and increase the risk for heart disease," says Dr SS Sibia, Founder and Cardiologist, Sibia Medical Centre, Ludhiana.


Studies have found that individuals who are more aggressive, competitive, hostile, short tempered, more time conscious, have constant preoccupation with deadlines, unable to relax, cynical, etc. are prone to excessive stress and are also prone to cardiovascular diseases.

"Frequent anger outbursts causes frequent and pronounced increase in heart rate, blood pressure and endocrine hormones like catecholamines and delayed recovery of these physiological responses can contribute to development of atherosclerosis and development of coronary heart diseases and eventually heart attacks," says Dr Trideep Choudhury.


Dr Choudhury says frequent anger outbursts may also lead to social isolation which may decrease a person's social support and high levels of conflict and disruption in close relationships such as marriage.

"Low social support and and higher strain in intimate relationships are both associated with greater risk of cardiovascular diseases. Thus, anger and hostility can lead to cardiovascular diseases in part because they are closely tied to psychosocial risk factors specially those related to the quality of social relationships," says Dr Choudhury.


"In people with pre-existing heart diseases, sudden surge of catecholamines during fits of anger can cause heart attacks and lethal heart rhythms. Among patients with advanced coronary atherosclerosis, evoked anger (recall and discussion of anger provoking events) can evoke myocardial ischemia," says Dr Choudhury.

The most effective approaches to avoid heart disease are to manage risk factors like smoking, high blood pressure, cholesterol, weight, exercise, and diabetes, says Dr SS Sibia.

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