Bottled Up Anger Hurts Your Heart
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|Mon, 05-03-2010 - 11:54am|
Anger can strangle blood flow in the heart and lead to abnormal heart rhythms, and has been linked to an increased risk of heart disease. There's also evidence that suppressing anger can be harmful to the heart. In the current study, the researchers investigated the interplay among "Type D" personality, anger, anger suppression, and outcomes in heart disease patients.
While 4 percent of the patients who didn't have Type D personalities had high levels of suppressed anger, nearly 20 percent of the Type D personality patients did, the researchers found. The personality type also quadrupled the risk of having a heart attack or dying during follow-up.
The findings don't mean that people with Type D personalities or people who have a tough time expressing their anger are doomed to be unhealthy, Denollet noted. "Anger is one of the emotions that (tells) us something is not going the way we would like it to go," the researcher said. People should be aware of their angry feelings and figure out where they're coming from; "it's important to take next steps and try to do something about the situation," Denollet told Reuters Health.
For some people, according to Denollet, finding a way to speak up for themselves and discuss what's angering them with other people in a "sociable, nice way" will be enough; for others, professional help such as assertiveness training and social skills training may be warranted.