can kill you, U.S. study shows
23 - Anger and other strong emotions can trigger potentially deadly heart
rhythms in certain vulnerable people, U.S. researchers said on Monday. Yet another reason to consider anger management therapy.
studies have shown that earthquakes, war or even the loss of a World Cup Soccer
match can increase rates of death from sudden cardiac arrest, in which the
heart stops circulating blood.
definitely been shown in all different ways that when you put a whole
population under a stressor that sudden death will increase," said Dr.
Rachel Lampert of Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, whose study
appears in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.
study starts to look at how does this really affect the electrical system of
the heart," Lampert said.
colleagues studied 62 patients with heart disease and implantable heart
defibrillators or ICDs that can detect dangerous heart rhythms or arrhythmias
and deliver an electrical shock to restore a normal heart beat.
were people we know already had some vulnerability to arrhythmia," Lampert
said in a telephone interview.
the study took part in an exercise in which they recounted a recent angry
episode while Lampert's team did a test called T-Wave Alternans that measures
electrical instability in the heart.
the team specifically asked questions to get people to relive the angry
episode. "We found in the lab setting that yes, anger did increase this
electrical instability in these patients," she said.
followed patients for three years to see which patients later had a cardiac
arrest and needed a shock from their implantable defibrillator.
who had the highest anger-induced electrical instability were 10 times more
likely than everyone else to have an arrhythmia in follow-up," she said.
the study suggests that anger can be deadly, at least for people who are
already vulnerable to this type of electrical disturbance in the heart.
yes, anger really does impact the heart's electrical system in very specific
ways that can lead to sudden death," she said.
cautioned against extrapolating the results to people with normal hearts.
"How anger and stress may impact people whose hearts are normal is likely
very different from how it may impact the heart which has structural
abnormalities," she said.
Lampert is now
conducting a related study on anger management therapy. He is trying to see if anger management therapy
can help decrease the
risk of arrhythmia in this group of at-risk patients. His previous
research suggests that since anger increases health risks and anger management therapy decreases anger, it is logical to hypothesize that anger management therapy decreases health risks. Anger management therapists have been touting the mental health benefits of anger management therapy for years, but we may soon find that anger management therapy decreases physical risk factors as well.
death accounts for more than 400,000 deaths each year in the United States,
according to the American College of Cardiology.
Julie Steenhuysen http://www.reuters.com/article/latestCrisis/idUSN23265425
Anger Management Therapy